One of the most popular authors of all time, Sheldon is
best known for his sweeping blockbuster novels, including The Doomsday
Conspiracy, Memories of Midnight, The Sands of Time, Windmills of the Gods,
and The Other Side of Midnight. Almost all have been number-one
international bestsellers. His first book, The Naked Face, was
acclaimed by the New York Times as "the best first mystery of the
year" and received an Edgar Award.
Born in Chicago on Feb. 11, 1917, Sheldon won a scholarship to Northwestern
University after high school, but he was forced to drop out for
financial reasons at the onset of the Great Depression. He went to
work to help support his family, first writing jokes for radio and then as a
movie-house usher. He tried several jobs before growing discouraged
and finally moving to New York City to begin a songwriting career, but that,
Six months later, broke but determined, Sheldon moved to
Hollywood to become a screenwriter. Universal Studios hired him for
$17 a week to review incoming scripts and write summaries of them, and he
began turning in some of his own work, which he wrote in his spare time.
After spending a year on active duty in the U.S. Air Force,
Sheldon returned to Hollywood in 1941 where he began writing ‘B’ movies with
collaborator, Ben Roberts. His first screen-writing credit came that
year with the films, Mr. District Attorney and The Carter Case,
although it was in scripting musicals that he found his greatest early
In 1948, Sheldon won an Academy Award for best screenplay
for the Cary Grant vehicle, The Bachelor and Bobby Soxer, as well as
a Screen Writers’ Guild Award for Best Musical for Easter Parade,
starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. In 1953, he made his
directorial debut with Dream Wife.
He has gone on to write the screenplays for twenty-three
motion pictures, including Easter Parade (with Judy Garland) and
Annie Get Your Gun. In addition, he penned six other Broadway hits
and created three long-running television series.
In 1959, Sheldon won a Tony Award for Best Musical with
Redhead. He also created the two comedy series, I Dream of
Jeannie and Patty Duke. He produced both shows and wrote
most of the scripts himself under a pseudonym. He also created the
popular Robert Wagner series, Hart to Hart.
Sheldon's first published novel, The Naked Face, was the first in a seemingly endless production of bestsellers
The Other Side of Midnight (1974), on the Times'
bestseller list for a year, and The Best Laid Plans (1997).
Today, octogenarian Sheldon is married to Alexandra Kostoff, with whom he
has a daughter, Mary. He continues writing, working on a new novel, a
book of nonfiction, and his autobiography. He is in the Guinness
Book of World Records as the single most translated author in the world.
His publishers, William Morris, estimate that he has some 275 million books
in circulation throughout 80 countries in 50 different languages.
Most of his novels have become major feature films or TV miniseries.
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