He won numerous USA literary prizes including two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner awards, and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, but the Nobel Prize evaded him.
Author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward.
Roth was an atheist who swore allegiance to earthly imagination, whether devising pornographic functions for raw liver or indulging romantic fantasies about Anne Frank.
His first collection of short stories, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), though well received (it won the author his first National Book Award in 1960), was criticized by several powerful rabbis for its portrayal of Jews as morally flawed and materialistic. He continued to write well into the 2000s before retiring in 2012. Zuckerman's resemblance to the author prompted some speculation that these books were semi-autobiographical, though Roth swatted away those assertions when asked.
He graduated from Bucknell and pursued a master's degree from the University of Chicago graduating in 1955.
He was well known for writing about his Jewish upbringing as well as American ideas, the human body and personal identity. It's also Roth's only novel that features a female protagonist: Lucy Nelson. When Roth won the Man Booker International Prize, in 2011, a judge resigned, alleging that the author suffered from terminal solipsism and went "on and on and on about the same subject in nearly every single book". The character of Nathan Zuckerman is lauded as one of the most memorable characters from his books.
Roth became the first novelist to win three PEN/Faulkner awards after the publication of Everyman in 2006, and in 2011 he won the Man Booker International Prize after the publication of his 2010 novel Nemesis.
Roth had been especially prolific in the years leading to his 2012 retirement from writing, turning out novels almost every two years.
His final novel "Nemesis", about a 1944 polio epidemic, came out in 2010.
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Thurman said that after he stopped writing Roth spent his free time reading and swimming, and meeting friends.
Roth had a long relationship with British actress Claire Bloom but their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1995. "If I'm not an American, I'm nothing", said Roth.
"I don't want to read any more of it, write any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore ..."
The topics Roth wrote about included the Jewish experience in America, promiscuous male sexuality, and the hypocrisy and disillusionment of American political life since the 1940s. This would be one of his many influential works that was adapted into a film.
While predecessors such as Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud wrote of the Jews' painful adjustment from immigrant life, Roth's characters represented the next generation.
He first Wednesday Margaret Martinson Williams in 1959 but the couple divorced four years later.
RottenTomatoes: 42 percent; IMDb: 6.3 Anthony Hopkins plays a disgraced college dean with a secret past who romances a younger woman (Nicole Kidman) with her own mysterious history in an adaptation of Roth's 2000 novel.
The separated in 1963, but Williams reportedly refused to sign the divorce papers.