Michael Ende (1929–1995) was born into an artistic family in Bavaria, Germany. As a young man during the Second World War, he joined the anti-Nazi resistance rather than enlist in the army, as his teenage classmates were then being required to do. After the war, he finished high school and enrolled in drama school, hoping for a career as a playwright and actor. For the next few years he worked in regional theater and wrote plays and cabaret scripts. He also met his future wife, the actor Ingeborg Hoffmann. Ende found surprise success with the 1960 publication of his first children’s book, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver. He would go on to write many plays, essays, poems, and books—including Momo (1973) and The Neverending Story (1979)—which have been translated into more than forty languages and sold millions of copies around the world. He lived with his first wife in Italy for sixteen years until her death, and traveled extensively in Japan with his second wife, Mariko Satō, who was also his Japanese translator.