WASHINGTON – Lucien Carr (search), a journalist and a member of the inner circle of literature's Beat Generation, died Friday. He was 79.
Carr was undergoing treatment for cancer and collapsed at his home in Washington, said a friend, Jon Frandsen.
From the 1950s Carr was a prominent editor with United Press International, overseeing its national report in New York and later in Washington until he retired.
"He pushed hard to be fast and extra hard to be accurate," said Frandsen, who worked with Carr, "and he pushed hard to be graceful and powerful to get the point across."
A native of St. Louis, Carr was attending Columbia University in New York City in 1943 when he introduced classmate Allen Ginsberg (search) to a friend, William S. Burroughs (search). Later, Carr brought together Ginsberg and Burroughs with another Columbia student, Jack Kerouac (search).
The three writers were to form the core of the Beat Generation. Their carefree attitudes toward life and a liberal social awareness helped create a postwar alternative culture. The novels of Kerouac ("On the Road") and Burroughs ("Naked Lunch") and the poetry of Ginsberg ("Howl") were among its literary mileposts.
Carr himself was not a contributor to the movement as a writer but was important to its development, said Dennis McNally, a friend of Carr's and a Kerouac biographer.
"His influence on Kerouac and on Ginsberg was really quite considerable," McNally said. "He was their intellectual peer and stimulated them creatively."
In 1944, Carr stabbed to death a friend, David Kammerer, while fending off an unwanted homosexual advance and then dumped the body in the Hudson River. Kerouac and Ginsberg helped persuade Carr to turn himself in, and he later spent two years in prison. He remained close to Kerouac and Ginsberg throughout their lives.
Survivors include three sons — Simon, Ethan and Caleb Carr, the author of "The Alienist," "The Angel of Darkness" and other novels.