(father of Richard Yates [1860-1936]), a Representative and a Senator from Illinois; born in Warsaw, Gallatin County, Ky., January 18, 1815; attended the common schools; moved to Illinois in 1831; graduated from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Ill, in 1835; studied law at Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky.; admitted to the bar in 1837 and commenced practice in Jacksonville, Ill.; member, State house of representatives 1842-1845, 1848-1849; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-second and Thirty-third Congresses (March 4, 1851-March 3, 1855); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1854 to the Thirty-fourth Congress; Governor of Illinois 1861-1865; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1863; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1865, to March 3, 1871; was not a candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Thirty-ninth and Forty-first Congresses), Committee on Territories (Fortieth Congress); appointed by President Ulysses Grant as a United States commissioner to inspect a land subsidy railroad; died suddenly in St. Louis, Mo., November 27, 1873; interment in Diamond Grove Cemetery, Jacksonville, Ill.
Richard Yates, who wrote "Revolutionary Road" and other novels about self-deception, disappointment and grief, died on Saturday at the Birmingham (Ala.) Veterans Administration hospital. He was 66 years old and had lived in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for two years.
For much of his life, Yates's work met almost universal critical acclaim, yet not one of his books sold over 12,000 copies in hardcover first edition. All of his novels were out of print in the years after his death, though his reputation has substantially increased posthumously and many of his novels have since been reissued in new editions. This current success can be largely traced to the influence of Stewart O'Nan's 1999 essay in the Boston Review, "The Lost World of Richard Yates: How the great writer of the Age of Anxiety disappeared from print".
With the revival of interest in Yates's life and work after his death, Blake Bailey published the first in-depth biography of Yates, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates (2003). Film director Sam Mendes directed Revolutionary Road, a film reuniting the lead actors of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (Mendes's wife). It was released on 26 December 2008. The film was nominated for many film awards including BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Academy Awards. After Kate Winslet won her Golden Globe Best Actress Award for Revolutionary Road in 2009 she thanked Richard Yates for writing such a powerful novel and providing such a strong role for a woman.