American novelist and dramatist Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on May 1, 1923. Heller started off his writing career by publishing a series of short stories, but he is most famous for his satirical novel Catch-22. Set in the closing months of World War II, Catch-22 tells the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who discovers the horrors of war and its aftereffects. This novel brought the phrase "catch-22," defined in Webster's Dictionary as "a situation presenting two equally undesirable alternatives," into everyday use. Heller wrote Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22, in 1994. Other novels include As Good As Gold and God Knows. He also wrote No Laughing Matter, an account of his struggles with Guillain-Barr Syndrome, a neurological disorder, in 1986. Thirty-five years after writing his first book, Heller wrote his autobiography, entitled Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here. In his memoirs, Heller reminisces about what it was like growing up in Coney Island in the 1930s and 1940s. On December 13, 1999, Heller died of a heart attack in his home on Long Island. His last novel, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, was published shortly after his death.