Stephen King Reveals the Only Regret of His Career, And It's Not a Movie

Stephen King Reveals the Only Regret of His Career, And It's Not a Movie
Image credit: Legion-Media

Stephen King has one of the most illustrious careers imaginable for a writer.

He is responsible for some of the most popular and culturally significant books and movies of the last decades, in addition to being one of the most prolific modern book authors.

But success and popularity do not always free us from regretting our choices (as so many works of fiction remind the audience). Does Stephen King regret anything in his career?

Well, almost nothing. As he said once to Neil Gaiman, "If I had my life over again, I'd have done everything the same. Even the bad bits".

But as he immediately added, there actually is one exception, one thing he regretted doing.

At this point devoted fans of Stephen King might think of his books often believed to be subpar, like The Tommyknockers, or elements in his books which much of the fanbase considers cringy, including numerous awkward and unnecessary sex scenes, like the underage orgy in It.

Others might remember, say, that Stephen King hated The Shining adaptation by Stanley Kubrik and voiced his criticism of it loudly, concluding that King might be regretting allowing that adaptation to happen.

But in reality Stephen King does not regret writing anything he wrote – or at least he did not regret writing anything back then, at the time of his conversation with Gaiman – and believes that Kubrik had a right to his own vision, even if King himself disagreed with that vision very strongly. No, his true regret is something else.

"But I wouldn't have done the American Express 'Do You Know Me?' TV ad. After that, everyone in America knew what I looked like".

You can see that horror-inspired ad from 1983 here:

And besides being bizarre and rather poorly written ("I'm author Stephen King, and I've been trapped here without food or water for four days"), it indeed made Stephen King's face familiar to much of United States, in the way many people today can recognize George Martin or J. K. Rowling. Stephen King apparently disliked this sort of fame back then, although he later appeared in a number of small on-screen roles, most recently in a cameo as a pawn shop owner in It Chapter Two.