Where Are Bill Bryson and Stephen Katz Now?

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Uncovering the realm of chaotic peace, ‘A Walk in the Woods’ chronicles the adventurous journey two friends undertake across the Appalachian Trails. Starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, the comedy movie follows the life of Bill Bryson, a celebrated travel writer in England who returns to New Hampshire in his 60s. When he announces that he’s going to hike over two thousand miles with his old friend, Stephen Katz, his friends and family raise eyebrows. Adapted from Bill Bryson’s eponymous novel, the movie encapsulates the onerous journey of two old friends. Helmed by Ken Kwapis, fans have continued to wonder more about the people whose real-life adventures inspired the drama film.

Bill Bryson Has Now Retired from Writing

Donning the hats of a journalist, a travel writer, and an author, Bill Bryson’s ability to conjure innate human emotions in his writing remains remarkable. Having made his way into reader’s hearts through his short stories, novels, and other writings, Bill Bryson has enjoyed a marvelous career. The American-British journalist, otherwise known as William McGuire Bryson, first penned an exploration of Britain in ‘Notes from a Small Island’ published in 1995.

Having authored a plethora of literary works over the years, Bryson’s work isn’t limited to his acclaimed writing. He’s served as the Chancellor of Durham University and has been lauded for his extensive knowledge of a myriad of subjects. From writing on travel to general science, the author has earned accolades such as the European Union’s Descartes Prize and the Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire. After devoting decades of his life to his work, the author finally decided to put his pen down in 2020.

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The COVID-19 lockdown allowed Bryson to read for pleasure, an activity he hadn’t performed in decades. “I’m really quite enjoying doing nothing at all. Whatever time is left to me on this planet, I’d like to spend it indulging myself (and my) masses of grandchildren,” he said in an interview with Times Radio, London.

While fans of the acclaimed author were naturally dismayed upon learning the news, they weren’t disappointed for too long. In 2022, the author briefly returned from his retirement to record an audiobook for Audible entitled, ‘The Secret History of Christmas.’ While he was happy to engage in this brief project, Bryson majorly looks forward to “sleeping and drinking and gardening and not having to do anything that involves thinking or working,” he said in Audible’s podcast. We are happy to report that the 71-year-old author is not just enjoying his retirement but, in fact, “love(s) being retired.” So, even though fans may see few glimpses of the writer’s works, it is apparent that he continues to enjoy life on his own terms.

Stephen Katz (Matthew “Matt” Angerer) Has Sadly Passed Away

Stephen Katz or Matthew “Matt” Angerer was portrayed by Nick Nolte in the movie adaptation of ‘A Walk in The Woods.’ While his journey in his friend’s acclaimed travelogue has been loved and renowned, Matthew’s life had been quite different. Having attended Callanan and Roosevelt schools in Des Moines, Iowa, with Bill Bryson, Matthew had been a kindred spirit from a very young age. Using his creative methods, he would manage to sneak in alcohol and even execute beer heists from railroad boxards in Des Moines. Having served some time in a juvenile facility in Iowa, Matthew was never afraid of a challenge.

Matthew "Matt" Angerer Obituary | Iowa Cremation
Image Credit: Iowa Cremation

From travelling the Appalachian trails to heading off on a backpacking trip in Europe in 1972, he and Bill shared several memorable experiences. While struggling with sobriety had been burdensome, Matthew still possessed several talents. He had worked as a legal assistant, a radio announcer and a processing tech at the Mercy Hospital. During this time, Matthew met his wife, Mary, and the duo embarked on a lifelong journey together. After the movie adaptation of the book hit the screens, Matthew/Stephen had plans to travel outside of Iowa with his wife.

In his retirement years, he would spend time with his wife, her four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Alas, Matthew’s golden years came to an end earlier this year when he breathed his last on June 22nd, 2023. Remembered and recalled for his bright personality, Matthew breathed his last in Centerville, Iowa, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Mary Bowlin, his stepdaughter, Janice, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Forever immortalized in the works of his friend and author Bill Bryson’s works, Matthew Angerer’s vivacious memories continued to live on.

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