Jim Carroll

For other people with the same name, see Jim Carroll (disambiguation).
Jim Carroll

Carroll in Seattle in 2000
Born James Dennis Carroll
(1949-08-01)August 1, 1949
Manhattan, New York City
Died September 11, 2009(2009-09-11) (aged 60)
Manhattan, New York City
Cause of death Heart Attack
Occupation Author, poet, musician, autobiographer
Years active 1967–2009
Known for The Basketball Diaries
Jim Carroll in New York, NY (2005)

James Dennis "Jim" Carroll (August 1, 1949[1] – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which inspired the 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.


Carroll was born to a working-class family of Irish descent, and grew up on New York City's Lower East Side. When he was about 11 (in the sixth grade) his family moved north to Inwood in Upper Manhattan where he attended Good Shepherd School. He was taught by the LaSalle Christian Brothers, and his brother in the sixth grade noted that he could write and encouraged him to do so. In fall 1963, he entered public school, but was soon awarded a scholarship to the elite Trinity School.[2] He attended Trinity from 1964–1968.

He briefly attended Wagner College and Columbia University.[3]

Carroll identified Rainer Maria Rilke, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler,[4] Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs as influences on his artistic career.[5]

Literary career

While still in high school, Carroll published his first collection of poems, Organic Trains. Already attracting the attention of the local literati, his work began appearing in the Poetry Project's magazine The World in 1967. Soon his work was being published in elite literary magazines like Paris Review in 1968,[2] and Poetry the following year. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol's Theater. Carroll's first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living at the Movies, was published in 1973.[6]

In 1978, Carroll published The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical book concerning his life as a teenager in New York City's hard drug culture. Diaries is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of 12 and 16, detailing his sexual experiences, high school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13.

In 1987, Carroll wrote a second memoir, Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971–1973, continuing his autobiography into his early adulthood in the New York City music and art scene as well as his struggle to kick his drug habit.

After working as a musician, Carroll returned to writing full-time in the mid-1980s and began to appear regularly on the spoken-word circuit. Starting in 1991, Carroll performed readings from his then-in-progress first novel, The Petting Zoo.[7]

In 1995, Canadian filmmaker John L'Ecuyer adapted "Curtis's Charm", a short story from Carroll's 1993 book Fear of Dreaming, into the film Curtis's Charm.[8]

Music career

In 1978, after he moved to California to get a fresh start since overcoming his heroin addiction, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a new wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith, with whom he once shared an apartment in New York City, along with Robert Mapplethorpe.[9] He performed a spoken word piece with the Patti Smith Group in San Diego when the support band dropped out at the last moment. The band was originally called Amsterdam, where they originally formed and were based in Bolinas, California. The musicians were Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). They released a single "People Who Died", from their 1980 debut album, Catholic Boy. The album featured contributions from Allen Lanier and Bobby Keys. In 1982 the song appeared in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, from which Carroll received royalties until his death in 2009. The song also appeared in the 1985 Kim Richards vehicle Tuff Turf starring James Spader and Robert Downey Jr., which also featured a cameo appearance by the band, as well as 2004's Dawn of the Dead, and in the 2015 Mr. Robot S1 E10. It was featured in the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries (based on Jim Carroll's autobiography), and was covered by John Cale on his Antártida soundtrack. The song's title was based on a poem by Ted Berrigan.[10] Later albums were Dry Dreams (1982) and I Write Your Name (1983), both with contributions from Lenny Kaye and Paul Sanchez. Carroll also collaborated with musicians Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Boz Scaggs, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and Rancid.


Carroll, 60, died of a heart attack at his Manhattan home on September 11, 2009.[1] He was reportedly working at his desk when he died.[11]

His funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Pompeii Roman Catholic Church on Carmine St. in Greenwich Village.






Spoken word


Compilations and soundtracks

See also


  1. 1 2 Grimes, William (September 13, 2009). "Jim Carroll, Poet and Punk Rocker, Is Dead at 60". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-12-18.(subscription required)
  2. 1 2 Mallon, Thomas (December 6, 2010). "Off the Rim: Jim Carroll's "The Petting Zoo"". The New Yorker. Condé Nast: 90–93. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  3. "Jim Carroll: author of The Basketball Diaries", The Times, September 15, 2009, retrieved March 25, 2010
  4. O'Hehir, Andrew (April 12, 1995). "A Poet Half-Devoured – Jim Carroll Feature Articles". CatholicBoy.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  5. Goldman, Marlene (January 8, 1999). "Mercury Rising (1999) – Jim Carroll Interviews". CatholicBoy.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  6. "Living at the Movies, First Edition - Books by Jim Carroll - CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  7. Woo, Elaine (September 14, 2009). "Jim Carroll dies at 60; poet and punk rocker wrote about travails in 'The Basketball Diaries'". latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  8. "The romance of junkie paranoia". The Globe and Mail, September 14, 1995.
  9. Smith, Patti (2010). Just Kids. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 162–164, 166–167. ISBN 978-0-06-093622-8.
  10. MacAdams, Lewis (September 16, 2009). "Remembering Jim Carroll". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  11. "CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  12. "CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
  13. "Edelweiss". Edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  14. discogs - Live Dreams 1981 LP
  15. discogs - Dry Dreams 1982 LP
  16. discog - I Write Your Name 1983 LP
  17. discogs - Best of the Jim Carroll Band: a World Without Gravity 1993 CD
  18. discogs - Pools Of Mercury 1998 CD
  19. allmusic - Pools Of Mercury 1998 CD
  20. cduniverse - Pools Of Mercury 1998 CD
  21. allmusic Pools Of Mercury 2012 Digital Download
  22. discogs - Praying Mantis 1991 CD
  23. cduniverse - Praying Mantis 2008 reissue
  24. discogs - The Dial-A-Poem Poets 1972 double LP
  25. discogs - Disconnected (the Dial-A-Poem Poets) 1974 double LP
  26. discogs - the Nova Convention 1979 double LP
  27. discogs - One World Party 1981 double LP
  28. discogs - Better an Old Demon than a New God 1984 LP
  29. discogs - Tuff Turf - the original soundtrack 1985 LP
  30. discogs - Release #8 - 1993 1993 Cassette
  31. discogs - WBCN: Naked 2000 1999 CD
  32. amazon - Wbcn Naked 2000 1999-11-30th CD
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