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Sydney Sheldon – Author Biographies
Sidney Sheldon was born Sidney Schechtel on February 11, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was Natalie Marcus, a Russian Jewish immigrant with no formal education, but loved books and classical music. His father, Ascher (Otto), took many different jobs as he moved the family from town to town. He bragged that he had never read a book in his life.
Sydney was married to Jorja Curtright, an on stage and film actress and later an interior decorator for over 30 years. They had a daughter, Mary, who also became a published novelist. Jorja died in 1985. Sydney married former child actress, Alexandra Kostoff in 1989.
Even as he was growing up, Sidney loved to read and spent a lot of time at the library. He says he always knew he wanted to be a writer. When he was 10, he wrote and submitted a poem to the popular children’s magazine, “Wee Wisdom”, in a poetry contest, and won $5. When he was 12, he wrote and put on a play for his English class, his favorite subject.
Sydney attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he took a full load of classes, joined the debating team, worked as a busboy in the cafeteria and took a job at the college newspaper, doing minor celebrity interviews. This was the height of the depression and money was tight and jobs were scarce. So Sydney left college to seek more work.
He moved to Hollywood, California in 1937 and took a job as a reader for movie studios along with various other jobs. Sidney did a stint in the Army Air Corp and served as a pilot, during WWII. When he left the military he headed for New York where he worked as a songwriter and a Broadway Playwright. He wrote 25 films and had three musical hits.
Sydney Sheldon moved back to California and as television became a hot commodity in the 1960’s, Sidney wrote and produced the sitcom, “The Patty Duke Show”, starring young Patty Duke. He also created, wrote and produced the “I Dream of Jeannie”, starring Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman, and “Hart to Hart”, starring Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner.
Sydney went from screenwriter to author when he was 50 years old. His first novel, “The Naked Face”, was published in 1970 after being turned down by five publishers. The novel became a best seller and won an “Edgar Allan Poe Award.” He went on to write many best selling novels. So far twenty six of his novels were turned into movies.
When Sydney was 85, he published his autobiography, “The Other Side of Me.” He opened the book with the story of his attempted suicide when he was 17. Sidney’s father walked in on him. His father, forever a salesman, talked him out of it.
Sidney Sheldon died on January 30, 2007 in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 89. He has been called a humble man, warm, gracious and one of the most prolific writers of his time.
The Naked Face (1970)
A Stranger in the Mirror (1976)
Rage of Angels (1980)
Master of the Game (1982)
If Tomorrow Comes (1985)
Windmills of the Gods (1987)
The Sands of Times (1988)
The Doomsday Conspiracy (1991)
The Stars Shine Down (1992)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1994)
Morning, Noon and Night (1995)
The Best Laid Plans (1997)
Tell Me Your Dreams (1998)
The Sky is Falling (2000)
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2004)
Mistress of the Game (2009) (with Tilly Bagshawe)
The Other Side of Midnight (1974)
Memories of Midnight (1990)
Bloodline/A Stranger in the Mirror/Naked Face (1992)
The Dark Side of Midnight (2007)
Roman Candle (1960)
The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer (1961)
Adventures of Drippy: The Runaway Raindrop (1995)
Fun With Drippy Activity Book (1996)
Fun With Drippy the Runaway Raindrop (2004)
The Other Side of Me (2005)
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