E. L. Doctorow, ‘Ragtime’ Author, Dead at 84

New York writer penned a dozen novels, including “The March,” “Welcome to Hard Times” and “Billy Bathgate”

Last Updated: July 21, 2015 @ 6:20 PM

Novelist E. L. Doctorow, best known for the 1975 historical “Ragtime,” died Tuesday at the age of 84.

The New York-born writer won numerous awards for his novels, including a National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, an Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction and the National Humanities Medal.

The cause of death was complications from lung cancer and the author died in Manhattan, his son Richard told The New York Times.

His most famous work, the 1975 historical novel “Ragtime,” innovatively blended fictional characters with historical figures in early 1900s America, including Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Emma Goldman and Booker T. Washington.

The book was also adapted into a 1981 movie directed by Milos Forman and starring James Cagney and Pat O’Brien in their final screen roles. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including for supporting players Elizabeth McGovern and Howard E. Rollins Jr.

“Ragtime” was also adapted into a Broadway musical in 1998, when it was nominated for 12 Tony nominations and won four.

Aside from his novels, Doctorow also wrote several volumes of short fiction and a stage play.