DuBose Heyward was born in Charleston in 1885. At the age of 14, he left school to work full time to help his financially struggling family. In 1908, he started an insurance business and soon began writing poetry. Heyward's first book, Skylines and Horizons, appeared in 1918, and his most famous book, Porgy, in 1925. Its realistic, atmospheric tale of Lowcountry Blacks quickly made best-seller lists. In the 1930s, with composer George Gershwin, Heyward helped his story become the basis for the well-known American opera, Porgy and Bess. Heyward died on June 16, 1940 in North Carolina.