FX Network
FX Network

21 Justified Facts for the Final Season

FX Network
FX Network

For five seasons, Timothy Olyphant has redefined the 21st-century lawman as cool-as-can-be U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on the FX series Justified. Tonight, the show—based on a short story by the late, great Elmore Leonard, who also served as an executive producer—will begin its sixth and final season. If the previous five seasons are any indication, it’s fair to assume that there will be a body count when Raylan tips his Stetson for the final time. Here are 21 things you might not know about Graham Yost’s Emmy-winning series. 

1. RAYLAN GIVENS EXISTED BEFORE JUSTIFIED.

Though Justified, and its pilot episode in particular, is based on Elmore Leonard’s 2001 short story "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens made his literary debut in 1993, as a character in Leonard’s novel Pronto, and again in 1995’s Riding the Rap.

2. STEVEN SEAGAL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SERIES’ TITLE.

In the early stages of production, the series’ working title was "Lawman." “And then Steven Seagal’s reality show [Steven Seagal: Lawman] came on and we felt that there would be too much confusion, so we had to come up with something else,” series creator Graham Yost told IESB in 2010. “And someone at FX came up with Justified because it was used as a line in the pilot.”

3. EVEN BEFORE JUSTIFIED, LEONARD WAS ONE OF YOST’S BIGGEST INFLUENCES.

“Elmore was an influence—or at least someone I aspired to emulate—even before Justified,” Yost told TV Dudes when asked about the writers that inspired him.

4. YOST GOT HIS START ON HEY DUDE.

Yost’s first paying gig in Hollywood was as a writer on the Nickelodeon series Hey Dude, which ran from 1989 to 1991. “It was very low-budget,” Yost recalled to A.V. Club in 2013. “We were shooting on location at a real dude ranch in Tucson, so it looked pretty good for the paltry sum. We’d shoot an episode in three days so we were shooting 10 to 15 pages a day in the half-hour format. It was a great experience. The budget was a challenge, but the big challenge was just that we weren’t necessarily the best writers; we all became better.” 

5. YOST ALSO WROTE FOR FULL HOUSE.

Shortly after his Hey Dude gig ended, Yost spent a couple of months as a writer on Full House. “I was on Full House for nine and a half weeks,” Yost told A.V. Club. “I was hired on a probationary period of 10 weeks, and I quit four days before I was going to be fired. It’s funny, I’ve run into Dennis Rinsler, who was one of the showrunners there with Marc Warren, and they have never confirmed for me that I was going to be fired, but I certainly felt like I was going to be fired … I was told that I was hired because they wanted edge, and a show like that really didn’t want edge. It was a big room, and it was competitive, and it was hard to get stuff in. I just felt like I was completely not the right fit. Although I really liked everyone in the room, it just didn’t feel like a good fit. So I quit, and then happily Speed sold a couple days later.” 

6. LEONARD WAS A FAN OF OLYPHANT’S PORTRAYAL.

Before his passing, Leonard was very vocal about being a fan of Justified—particularly with the way that Olyphant interpreted the character of Raylan. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal asked Leonard whether the series had influenced the way he visualized the character in his writing, to which he responded: “No, because Tim Olyphant plays the character exactly the way I wrote him. I couldn't believe it. He's laidback and he's quiet about everything, but he says, if I have to pull my gun, then that's a different story. And it works. There are very few actors that recite the lines exactly the way you hear them when you're writing the book. George Clooney [in the 1998 movie Out of Sight] was one. He was very good.” 

7. OLYPHANT ISN’T THE FIRST ACTOR TO PORTRAY RAYLAN GIVENS.

James LeGros got there first, playing Raylan Givens in the 1997 TV movie adaptation of Pronto. And LeGros has popped up on Justified, too: In 2011, he began a recurring role as small-potato criminal Wade Messer. 

8. NICK SEARCY WAS THE FIRST CHOICE FOR ART MULLEN.

“When I read Elmore’s story 'Fire in the Hole,' and I got to the character of Art Mullen, I just knew that that would be Nick Searcy,” Yost told IESB. “I worked with him on From the Earth to the Moon, and he’s from the South and he has that avuncular, good sense of humor and yet is believable as a boss.” 

9. WALTON GOGGINS HAD TO BE CONVINCED TO PLAY BOYD CROWDER.

“I've known Walt for years, and when we first mentioned the idea of him playing Boyd, he had concerns—the stereotype of the Southern racist and all that,” Olyphant recently told Rolling Stone. “He's from the region [Goggins was raised in Georgia] so he was sensitive about putting that out there in a one-dimensional way. You know, a lot of actors, we aren't that special; you get a well-written scene, and it's virtually actor-proof. But during the casting process, we had a list of people we had in mind for Boyd and the more I looked at his name on that list, the more I kept telling everyone involved, ‘Look, I stand corrected. I've been saying anyone could do it, but we really need to get this specific guy to play Boyd. He'll bring something special to it.’ And the son of a bitch did. He makes everybody better just by being around him.”

10. BOYD WASN’T SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE THE FIRST EPISODE.

It’s hard to imagine Justified without the frenemy friction between Raylan and Boyd. But even when the series began shooting, the plan was for Boyd to be killed off in the pilot. “Walton Goggins was initially resistant to the idea of playing Boyd, but we talked him into it,” Yost told IESB. “And that became a huge get for the show because he really made Boyd come alive and become someone that, in Elmore’s story and then in the pilot as we shot it, dies, but the decision was made to keep him alive.” 

11. THERE WAS NO ARLO IN "FIRE IN THE HOLE."

In the series, Raylan’s criminal father Arlo serves as an impetus for his choice to stay on the right side of the law. But in the original short story, Raylan’s daddy issues weren’t quite so prominent. “In Elmore’s story ... Raylan’s father is dead and he died of black lung,” Yost told IESB. “He was a miner. I just decided, ‘Well, let’s keep him alive and let’s have him be a criminal.’ That’s what Raylan rebelled against, and that’s why he became a U.S. Marshal. So, right there, that dynamic gave us something to explore.”

12. TO GET LEONARD’S VOICE RIGHT, THE WRITERS BECAME READERS.

One of Justified’s hallmarks is its ability to perfectly replicate Leonard’s whipsmart dialogue. And much of this comes from the first assignment Yost gave after assembling his team of writers: Read! “When we started the writing room, we bought as many of Elmore’s books as we could find and divided them up,” Yost told IESB. “Everyone took a couple on and read them, so they would get into the rhythms and get the style. One of the great things that I got to do in writing the pilot was actually retype a lot of Elmore’s style and put it in the script. It was interesting. Just the act of retyping it let me get into the language a little bit more.”

13. LEONARD ENVISIONED RAYLAN WITH A SMALLER HAT.

Raylan’s signature Stetson is a bit larger than Leonard imagined it. “The critics have been calling Raylan a cowboy with his hat,” Leonard told Salon. “The hat came unexpectedly [with the show]. I had described kind of a businessman’s Stetson, a smaller Stetson … But evidently he found his own hat and design. It’s perfect. I don’t see him bareheaded. He seems to need a hat to define who he is.”

14. THERE IS ONLY ONE BACKUP FOR THE HAT ON SET AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

Raylan’s hat is one of the character’s key accessories (second only to his gun, perhaps—though he did spend much of season five hat-less). But there’s not a closetful of Stetsons on set should the main hat sustain damage during shooting. “Over the holidays, our costumer took the hat and asked if it was okay to have it refit,” Olyphant told Rolling Stone in 2014. “‘It's taking a heck of a beating.’ So I said, ‘Of course,’ and she said, ‘God, I had the hat at my house and I was constantly locking the doors… I can't be the person who loses that hat.’”

15. YOU CAN BUY YOUR VERY OWN RAYLAN HAT.

Want to channel your inner U.S. Marshal? A replica of Raylan’s hat can be yours—for the price of $144.95—at FX’s online shop

16. GOGGINS IS AN OSCAR WINNER.

Though he was nominated for an Emmy in 2011 for his work on Justified, Walton Goggins has already got the ultimate golden guy on his bookshelf: an Oscar, which he won in 2002 for The Accountant, a short film he co-produced and starred in that took home the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. 

17. OLYPHANT CLAIMS TO BE DOING HIS BEST SAM ELLIOTT IMPRESSION.

In order to be the coolest guy in the room, Olyphant claims that he just acts as Sam Elliott might. The irony, of course, is that Elliott will star as one of the final season’s bad guys. “On his first day of work, I took [Sam] aside and said, ‘Look, buddy, here's the deal: Raylan is really just me trying to be you and failing miserably,” Olyphant joked to Rolling Stone. “‘In fact, I've just been stealing your whole deal since before I started this gig. Now, when we do our scenes together, people are going to be like, 'Oh, now I get it! Tim is doing Sam Elliott but with the voice of a 12-year-old girl.’” I mean, what the f*** was I supposed to do? I couldn't rely on my old tricks. But we cast him anyway. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”

18. IT WAS YOST AND OLYPHANT’S IDEA TO END THE SERIES WITH SIX SEASONS.

“It really came down to me and Tim, but everyone was comfortable with what we decided,” Yost told HitFix in 2014. “It was just our feeling that we only had so much story left, and to try to stretch it to a seventh season would not be the smartest move. It wouldn't be an entirely clean and separate seventh season.” 

19. THE FINAL SEASON WILL BRING THE SERIES FULL CIRCLE.

“The final season will bring us back to where we started in the pilot,” Yost told TV Dudes in 2014. “It will all come done to Raylan, Boyd, and Ava. At this point we still haven't decided who lives and who dies.”

20. THE WORLD IS NOW FULL OF RAYLANS.

In 2011, Raylan—the name—made its way into the real world when it became the 699th most common name for newborn boys. Its rank rose to 535 in 2012 and 510 in 2013. It doubles as a girl’s name, too, though for every 15 boys named Raylan there is just one girl. Some fans of the show have opted for a softer Rae-Lynn. The name came from a real-life Raylan that Leonard met. 

21. EVEN OLYPHANT ISN’T SURE WHETHER RAYLAN IS A GOOD GUY.

When recently asked whether he’d miss playing Raylan, Olyphant told Rolling Stone, “I know what you mean by that question, but ... no. I mean, I realize this was a great part to play, and I'll miss working with these guys a lot. But I had some problems with Raylan. I'm not so sure he's a great guy … When people tell me they like Raylan, I just say ‘Thank you very much.’ I honestly do appreciate the compliment. Just because I think he's kind of an asshole doesn't mean they have to think that, too.”

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Warner Bros.
19 Shadowy Facts About Tim Burton's Batman
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Superhero movies are bigger than they’ve ever been before, but we arguably wouldn’t be here at all without 1989’s Batman. Produced at a time before comic book movies were considered big business, Tim Burton’s dark look at a superhero then best known for a goofy TV show is a pop culture landmark, and the story of how it was made is almost as interesting as the film itself. So, to celebrate Batman—which was released on this day in 1989—here are 19 facts about how it came to the screen.

1. AN EARLY MOVIE IDEA RELIED ON THE CAMPINESS OF THE CHARACTER.

As development of a Batman movie began, studio executives were still very tied to the campiness embodied by the Batman television series of the 1960s. According to executive producer Michael Uslan, when he first began attempting to get the rights to make a film, he was told that the only studio who’d expressed interest was CBS, and only if they could do a Batman In Outer Space film.

2. IT TOOK 10 YEARS TO MAKE.

Uslan lobbied hard for the rights to Batman, and finally landed them in 1979. At that point, the fight to convince a studio to make the film ensued, and everyone from Columbia Pictures to Universal Pictures turned it down. When Warner Bros. finally agreed to back the film, the issue of developing the right script had to be settled, and that took even more time. In 1989, after years of battling, Batman was finally released, and Uslan has been involved in some form in every Batman film since.

3. AN EARLY SCRIPT FEATURED BOTH THE PENGUIN AND ROBIN.

When Uslan finally got the chance to develop the film, he drafted legendary screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who had been a consultant on Superman, to write the script. The Mankiewicz script included The Joker, corrupt politician Rupert Thorne, a much greater focus on Bruce Wayne’s origin story, The Penguin, and the arrival of Robin late in the film. The script was ultimately scrapped, but you can see certain elements of it in Batman Returns.

4. TIM BURTON WASN’T THE FIRST POTENTIAL DIRECTOR.

Though Warner Bros. ultimately chose Tim Burton to helm Batman, over the course of the film’s development a number of other choices emerged. At various points on the road to Batman, everyone from Gremlins director Joe Dante to Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman was in line for the gig.

5. MANY STARS OF THE TIME WERE CONSIDERED FOR BATMAN.

The casting process for Batman was a long one, and involved a number of major stars of the day. Among the contenders for the title role were Mel Gibson, Bill Murray (yes, really), Kevin Costner, Willem Dafoe, Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, Charlie Sheen, Ray Liotta, and Pierce Brosnan, who later regretted turning down the role.

6. TIM BURTON HAD TO FIGHT TO CAST MICHAEL KEATON.

At the time, Michael Keaton was best known for his comedic roles in films like Mr. Mom and Night Shift, so the thought of casting him as a vigilante of the night seemed odd to many. Michael Uslan remembers thinking a prank was being played on him when he heard Keaton’s name pop up. Burton, who’d already worked with Keaton on Beetlejuice, was convinced that Keaton was right for the role, not just because he could portray the obsessive nature of the character, but because he also felt that Keaton was the kind of actor who would need to dress up as a bat in order to scare criminals, while a typical action star would just garner “unintentional laughs” in the suit. Burton ultimately won the argument, and Keaton got an iconic role for two films.

7. JACK NICHOLSON WAS THE FIRST CHOICE FOR THE JOKER, BUT HE WASN’T THE ONLY CHOICE.

From the beginning, Uslan concluded that Jack Nicholson was the perfect choice to play The Joker, and was “walking on air” when the production finally cast him. He certainly wasn’t the only actor considered, though. Among Burton’s considerations were Willem Dafoe, James Woods, Brad Dourif, David Bowie, and Robin Williams (who really wanted the part).

8. TIM BURTON WON JACK NICHOLSON OVER WITH HORSEBACK RIDING.

When Nicholson was asked to discuss playing The Joker, he invited Burton and producer Peter Guber to visit him in Aspen for some horseback riding. When Burton learned that was what they’d be doing, he told Guber “I don’t ride,” to which Guber replied “You do today!” So, a “terrified” Burton got on a horse and rode alongside Nicholson, and the star ultimately agreed to play the Clown Prince of Crime.

9. EDDIE MURPHY WAS ONCE CONSIDERED TO PLAY ROBIN.

Though the character of Robin was ultimately scrapped because it simply didn’t feel like there was room for him in the film, he did appear in early drafts of the script, and at one point producers considered casting Eddie Murphy—who, you must remember, was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1980s—for the role. 

10. SEAN YOUNG WAS THE ORIGINAL VICKI VALE.

Burton initially cast Blade Runner star Sean Young as acclaimed photographer Vicki Vale, who would become Bruce Wayne’s love interest. Young was part of the pre-production process on Batman for several weeks until, while practicing horseback riding for a scene that was ultimately cut, she fell from her horse and was seriously injured. With just a week to go until shooting, producers had to act fast to find a replacement, and decided on Kim Basinger, who essentially joined the production overnight.

11. TIM BURTON WASN’T OFFICIALLY HIRED UNTIL BEETLEJUICE BECAME A HIT.

Though he was basically already a part of the production, Burton wasn’t officially the director of Batman right away. Warner Bros. showed interest in him working on the film after the success of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, but according to Burton they only officially hired him after the first weekend grosses for Beetlejuice came in.

“They were just waiting to see how Beetlejuice did,” Burton said. “They didn’t want to give me that movie unless Beetlejuice was going to be okay. They wouldn’t say that, but that was really the way it was.”

12. DANNY ELFMAN THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO BE FIRED UNTIL HE PLAYED THE MAIN THEME.

Danny Elfman is now considered one of our great movie composers, but at the time Batman was released he didn’t have any blockbuster credits to his name. He recalls meeting with Burton (with whom he had worked on Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) and producer Jon Peters to go over some of the music he’d already written for the film, and feeling “a lot of skepticism” over whether he should be the composer for Batman. It wasn’t until Burton said “Play the march,” and Elfman went into what would become the opening credits theme for the film, that he won Peters over.

“Jon jumped out of his chair, really just almost started dancing around the room,” Elfman said.

13. THE JOKER WASN’T ALWAYS GOING TO KILL BATMAN’S PARENTS.

In the final film, The Joker (then named Jack Napier) is revealed to be the gangster who guns down Bruce Wayne’s parents in the streets of Gotham City. It’s a twist that some comic book fans still dislike, and according to screenwriter Sam Hamm, it definitely wasn’t his fault.

“That was something that Tim had wanted from early on, and I had a bunch of arguments with him and wound up talking him out of it for as long as I was on the script. But, once the script went into production, there was a writer’s strike underway, and so I wasn’t able to be with the production as it was shooting over in London, and they brought in other people.”

Hamm also emphasizes that it was also not his idea to show Alfred letting Vicki Vale into the Batcave.

14. THE CLIMACTIC SCENE WAS WRITTEN MIDWAY THROUGH SHOOTING.

Though much of the film is still derived from Hamm’s script, rewrites continued to happen during shooting, and one of them involved the final confrontation between Batman and The Joker in a Gotham City clock tower. According to co-star Robert Wuhl, the climax was inspired by Jack Nicholson and Jon Peters, who went to see a production of The Phantom of the Opera midway through filming and watched as the Phantom made his final stand in a tower. Together, they somehow determined that a final fight in the tower was what Batman needed.

“The next day, they started writing that scene … the whole ending in the tower,” Wuhl said.

15. MICHAEL KEATON’S BATMAN MOVEMENTS WERE INSPIRED BY THE RESTRICTIONS OF THE COSTUME.

Batman fans still love to make jokes about the original costume, and Michael Keaton’s inability to turn his head (there’s even a dig at that in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight), but the restrictions of the costume actually inspired how Keaton performed as the Dark Knight. In 2014, Keaton revealed that his performance as Batman was heavily influenced by a moment when, while trying to actually turn his head in the suit, he ended up ripping it.

“It really came out of the first time I had to react to something, and this thing was stuck to my face and somebody says something to Batman and I go like this [turning his head] and the whole thing goes, [rriipp]! There was a big f***ing hole over here,” he said. “So I go, well, I've got to get around that, because we've got to shoot this son of a bitch, so I go, 'You know what, Tim [Burton]? He moves like this [like a statue]!’”

“I'm feeling really scared, and then it hit me—I thought, 'Oh, this is perfect! This is perfect.' I mean, this is, like, designed for this kind of really unusual dude, the Bruce Wayne guy, the guy who has this other personality that's really dark and really alone, and really kind of depressed. This is it.”

16. GOTHAM CITY WAS REAL, AND IT WAS EXPENSIVE.

Production designer Anton Furst put a lot of work into the incredibly influential designs for the film’s version of Gotham City, and the production was committed to making them pay off. The production ultimately spent more than $5 million to transform the backlot of London’s Pinewood Studios into Gotham City, and you can see the dedication to practical effects work in the final film.

17. PRINCE WAS PART OF THE PRODUCTION EVEN BEFORE HE JOINED IT.

Batman famously features original songs by Prince, who wrote so much new material for the production that he basically produced a full album. Even before the Purple One was drafted to write for the film, though, he was influencing it. Burton played Prince songs on set during the parade sequence and the Joker’s rampage through the museum.

18. THE FILM’S MARKETING WAS SO EFFECTIVE THAT IT INSPIRED CRIMES.

By the time Batman was actually on its way to release, it was becoming a phenomenon, and the marketing for the film was inspiring a frenzy among fans. People were buying tickets to other films just to see the first trailer, and selling bootleg copies of the early footage. The poster, featuring the iconic logo, was so popular that, according to Uslan, people were breaking into bus stations just to steal it.

19. IT WAS A BOX OFFICE LANDMARK.

Though studio executives resisted the idea of a “dark” Batman movie for years, the film ultimately set a new standard for box office success. It was the first film to ever hit $100 million in 10 days, the biggest film in Warner Bros.’ history at the time, and the box office’s biggest earner of 1989—and that’s not even counting the massive toy and merchandising sales it generated.

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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
15 Riveting Facts About Alan Turing
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

More than six decades after his death, Alan Turing’s life remains a point of fascination—even for people who have no interest in his groundbreaking work in computer science. He has been the subject of a play and an opera, and referenced in multiple novels and numerous musical albums. The Benedict Cumberbatch film about his life, The Imitation Game, received eight Oscar nominations. But just who was he in real life? Here are 15 facts you should know about Alan Turing, who was born on this day in 1912.

1. HE’S THE FATHER OF MODERN COMPUTER SCIENCE.

Turing essentially pioneered the idea of computer memory. In 1936, Turing published a seminal paper called “On Computable Numbers” [PDF], which The Washington Post has called “the founding document of the computer age.” In the philosophical article, he hypothesized that one day, we could build machines that could compute any problem that a human could, using 0s and 1s. Turing proposed single-task machines called Turing machines that would be capable of solving just one type of math problem, but a “universal computer” would be able to tackle any kind of problem thrown at it by storing instructional code in the computer’s memory. Turing’s ideas about memory storage and using a single machine to carry out all tasks laid the foundation for what would become the digital computer.

In 1945, while working for the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, he came up with the Automatic Computing Machine, the first digital computer with stored programs. Previous computers didn’t have electric memory storage, and had to be manually rewired to switch between different programs.

2. HE PLAYED A HUGE ROLE IN WINNING WORLD WAR II.

Turing began working at Bletchley Park, Britain’s secret headquarters for its codebreakers during World War II, in 1939. By one estimate, his work there may have cut the war short by up to two years. He’s credited with saving millions of lives.

Turing immediately got to work designing a codebreaking machine called the Bombe (an update of a previous Polish machine) with the help of his colleague Gordon Welchman. The Bombe shortened the steps required in decoding, and 200 of them were built for British use over the course of the war. They allowed codebreakers to decipher up to 4000 messages a day.

His greatest achievement was cracking the Enigma, a mechanical device used by the German army to encode secure messages. It proved nearly impossible to decrypt without the correct cipher, which the German forces changed every day. Turing worked to decipher German naval communications at a point when German U-boats were sinking ships carrying vital supplies across the Atlantic between Allied nations. In 1941, Turing and his team managed to decode the German Enigma messages, helping to steer Allied ships away from the German submarine attacks. In 1942, he traveled to the U.S. to help the Americans with their own codebreaking work.

3. HE BROKE THE RULES TO WRITE TO CHURCHILL.

Early on, Bletchley Park’s operations were hampered by a lack of resources, but pleas for better staffing were ignored by government officials. So, Alan Turing and several other codebreakers at Bletchley Park went over their heads to write directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. One of the codebreakers from Bletchley Park delivered the letter by hand in October 1941.

“Our reason for writing to you direct is that for months we have done everything that we possibly can through the normal channels, and that we despair of any early improvement without your intervention,” they wrote to Churchill [PDF]. “No doubt in the long run these particular requirements will be met, but meanwhile still more precious months will have been wasted, and as our needs are continually expanding we see little hope of ever being adequately staffed.”

In response, Churchill immediately fired off a missive to his chief of staff: “Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done.”

4. HE HAD SOME ODD HABITS.

Like many geniuses, Turing was not without his eccentricities. He wore a gas mask while riding his bike to combat his allergies. Instead of fixing his bike’s faulty chain, he learned exactly when to dismount to secure it in place before it slipped off. He was known around Bletchley Park for chaining his tea mug to a radiator to prevent it from being taken by other staffers.

5. HE RODE HIS BIKE 60 MILES TO GET TO THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Though he was considered an average student, Turing was dedicated enough to his schooling that when a general strike prevented him from taking the train to his first day at his new elite boarding school, the 14-year-old rode his bike the 62 miles instead.

6. HE TRIED OUT FOR THE OLYMPICS.

Turing started running as a schoolboy and continued throughout his life, regularly running the 31 miles between Cambridge and Ely while he was a fellow at King’s College. During World War II, he occasionally ran the 40 miles between London and Bletchley Park for meetings.

He almost became an Olympic athlete, too. He came in fifth place at a qualifying marathon for the 1948 Olympics with a 2-hour, 46-minute finish (11 minutes slower than the 1948 Olympic marathon winner). However, a leg injury held back his athletic ambitions that year.

Afterward, he continued running for the Walton Athletic Club, though, and served as its vice president. ”I have such a stressful job that the only way I can get it out of my mind is by running hard,” he once told the club’s secretary. “It's the only way I can get some release."

7. HE WAS PROSECUTED FOR BEING GAY.

In 1952, Turing was arrested after reporting a burglary in his home. In the course of the investigation, the police discovered Turing’s relationship with another man, Arnold Murray. Homosexual relationships were illegal in the UK at the time, and he was charged with “gross indecency.” He pled guilty on the advice of his lawyer, and opted to undergo chemical castration instead of serving time in jail.

8. THE GOVERNMENT ONLY RECENTLY APOLOGIZED FOR HIS CONVICTION …

In 2009, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a public apology to Turing on behalf of the British government. “Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly,” Brown said. "This recognition of Alan's status as one of Britain's most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue." Acknowledging Britain’s debt to Turing for his vital contributions to the war effort, he announced, “on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better."

His conviction was not actually pardoned, though, until 2013, when he received a rare royal pardon from the Queen of England.

9. … AND NAMED A LAW AFTER HIM.

Turing was only one of the many men who suffered after being prosecuted for their homosexuality under 19th-century British indecency laws. Homosexuality was decriminalized in the UK in 1967, but the previous convictions were never overturned. Turing’s Law, which went into effect in 2017, posthumously pardoned men who had been convicted for having consensual gay sex before the repeal. According to one of the activists who campaigned for the mass pardons, around 15,000 of the 65,000 gay men convicted under the outdated law are still alive.

10. HE POISONED HIMSELF … MAYBE.

There is still a bit of mystery surrounding Turing’s death at the age of 41. Turing died of cyanide poisoning, in what is widely believed to have been a suicide. Turing’s life had been turned upside down by his arrest. He lost his job and his security clearance. By order of the court, he had to take hormones intended to “cure” his homosexuality, which caused him to grow breasts and made him impotent. But not everyone is convinced that he died by suicide.

In 2012, Jack Copeland, a Turing scholar, argued that the evidence used to declare Turing’s death a suicide in 1954 would not be sufficient to close the case today. The half-eaten apple by his bedside, thought to be the source of his poisoning, was never tested for cyanide. There was still a to-do list on his desk, and his friends told the coroner at the time that he had seemed in good spirits. Turing’s mother, in fact, maintained that he probably accidentally poisoned himself while experimenting with the chemical in his home laboratory. (He was known to taste chemicals while identifying them, and could be careless with safety precautions.)

That line of inquiry is far more tame than some others, including one author’s theory that he was murdered by the FBI to cover up information that would have been damaging to the U.S.

11. HIS FULL GENIUS WASN’T KNOWN IN HIS LIFETIME.

Alan Turing was a well-respected mathematician in his time, but his contemporaries didn’t know the full extent of his contributions to the world. Turing’s work breaking the Enigma machine remained classified long after his death, meaning that his contributions to the war effort and to mathematics were only partially known to the public during his lifetime. It wasn’t until the 1970s that his instrumental role in the Allies' World War II victory became public with the declassification of the Enigma story. The actual techniques Turing used to decrypt the messages weren’t declassified until 2013, when two of his papers from Bletchley Park were released to the British National Archives.

12. THE TURING TEST IS STILL USED TO MEASURE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE …

Can a machine fool a human into thinking they are chatting with another person? That’s the crux of the Turing test, an idea developed by Turing in 1950 regarding how to measure artificial intelligence. Turing argued in his paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” [PDF] that the idea of machines “thinking” is not a useful way to evaluate artificial intelligence. Instead, Turing suggests “the imitation game,” a way to assess how successfully a machine can imitate human behavior. The best measure of artificial intelligence, then, is whether or not a computer can convince a person that it is human.

13. … BUT SOME CONSIDER IT TO BE AN OUTDATED IDEA.

As technology has progressed, some feel the Turing test is no longer a useful way to measure artificial intelligence. It’s cool to think about computers being able to talk just like a person, but new technology is opening up avenues for computers to express intelligence in other, more useful ways. A robot’s intelligence isn’t necessarily defined by whether it can fake being human—self-driving cars or programs that can mimic sounds based on images might not pass the Turing test, but they certainly have intelligence.

14. HE CREATED THE FIRST COMPUTER CHESS PROGRAM.

Inspired by the chess champions he worked with at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing created an algorithm for an early version of computer chess—although at that time, there was no computer to try it out on. Created with paper and pencil, the Turochamp program was designed to think two moves ahead, picking out the best moves possible. In 2012, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov played against Turing’s algorithm, beating it in 16 moves. “I would compare it to an early caryou might laugh at them but it is still an incredible achievement," Kasparov said in a statement after the match-up.

15. THERE IS ALAN TURING MONOPOLY.

In 2012, Monopoly came out with an Alan Turing edition to celebrate the centennial of his birth. Turing had enjoyed playing Monopoly during his life, and the Turing-themed Monopoly edition was designed based on a hand-drawn board created in 1950 by his friend William Newman. Instead of hotels and houses, it featured huts and blocks inspired by Bletchley Park, and included never-before-published photos of Turing. (It’s hard to find, but there are still a few copies of the game on Amazon.)

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