American fantasy author (1906-1936). Creator of Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conqueror, Bran Mak Morn, and Solomon Kane.
Born in Peaster, Texas, before moving to Cross Plains, Texas, where he spent most of the rest of his life. Howard was a prolific writer, penning westerns, sports stories, and historical adventures, in addition to the fantasies he is famous for.
Howard was very close to his mother, who disapproved of the few women Howard dated. She was also in poor health, and he felt he had to stay in Cross Plains to take care of her.
Howard was a large, strong man. He was considered attractive, and was an amateur boxer, but in Cross Plains, he was considered a strange fellow. He liked to sing and shadow-box while walking down the street, he sometimes wore a very large sombrero, and he occasionally suffered from paranoia -- he kept a gun in his car's glove compartment to defend himself from his "enemies". He also suffered wild mood swings, from taciturn grumpiness to boisterous talkativeness. And of course, he was a succcessful writer, which was more than enough to qualify as an eccentric in Depression-era Central Texas.
Howard corresponded extensively with H.P. Lovecraft, and their shared ideas helped shape fantasy and horror fiction. Howard wrote several stories in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and the two writers considered themselves good friends, though they never met.
On the morning of June 6, 1936, Howard was told that his mother's tuberculosis would kill her in mere hours. He went to his car, took his gun out of the glove box and shot himself in the head.
His suicide note read, in full, "All fled - all done, so lift me on the pyre; The feast is over and the lamps expire."
Research from GURPS Who's Who 2, compiled by Phil Masters, "Robert Ervin Howard" by Matt Riggsby, pp. 122-123.