Ray Bradbury was born on 22 August 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, to Esther (née Moberg) Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a power and telephone lineman of English descent. He was given the middle name "Douglas," after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar Douglas Spaulding and was descended from Mary Bradbury, who was tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692.
Bradbury was surrounded by an extended family during his early childhood and formative years in Waukegan, Illinois. An aunt read him short stories when he was a child. This period provided foundations for both the author and his stories. In Bradbury's works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes "Green Town," Illinois.
The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as the father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, but eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Bradbury was 14. The family arrived with only 40 dollars, which paid for rent and food until his father finally found a job making wire at a cable company for $14 a week. This meant that they could stay, however, and Bradbury--who was in love with Hollywood--was ecstatic.
Ray attended Los Angeles High School and was active in the drama club. He often roller-skated through Hollywood in hopes of meeting celebrities. Among the creative and talented people Bradbury met this way were special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen and radio star George Burns. (Bradbury's first pay as a writer was at the age of fourteen, when Burns hired him to write for the Burns and Allen show.)