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 who loved books and classical music. His father, Ascher (Otto), held many different jobs as he moved the family from town to town. He boasted of never having read a book in his life.
Sydney was married to Jorja Curtright, a stage and film actress and later interior designer 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 growing up, Sidney enjoyed reading and spent a lot of time in the library. He says he always knew he wanted to be a writer. At the age of 10, he wrote and submitted a poem to the popular children’s magazine “Wee Wisdom”, as part of a poetry contest, and won $5. At 12, he wrote and staged a play for his English class, his favorite subject.
Sydney attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he took many courses, joined the debate team, worked as a cafeteria busboy, and took a job at the college newspaper. , doing interviews with underage celebrities. It was the height of the depression and money was tight and jobs were scarce. So Sydney left college to look for 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 served a stint in the Army Air Corp and served as a pilot in World War II. When he left the army, he headed to New York where he worked as a songwriter and Broadway playwright. He wrote 25 films and had three musical hits.
Sydney Sheldon returned to California and as television became a mainstream commodity in the 1960s, Sidney wrote and produced the sitcom “The Patty Duke Show”, starring young Patty Duke. He also created, wrote and produced “I Dream of Jeannie”, with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman, and “Hart to Hart”, with Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner.
Sydney went from screenwriter to author at the age of 50. His first novel, “The Naked Face”, was published in 1970 after being rejected by five publishers. The novel became a bestseller and won an “Edgar Allan Poe Award”. He went on to write many successful novels. So far, twenty-six of his novels have been made into movies.
When Sydney was 85, he published his autobiography, “The Other Side of Me”. He opened the book with the story of his suicide attempt when he was 17. Sidney’s father surprised him. His father, a lifelong salesman, dissuaded him.
Sidney Sheldon died on January 30, 2007 in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 89. He has been called a humble, warm, gracious man and one of the most prolific writers of his time.
The Naked Face (1970)
A Stranger in the Mirror (1976)
The Wrath of Angels (1980)
Game Master (1982)
If Tomorrow Comes (1985)
Windmills of the Gods (1987)
The Sands of Time (1988)
The Doomsday Conspiracy (1991)
The Stars Shine (1992)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1994)
Morning, Noon and Evening (1995)
The Best Plans (1997)
Tell Me Your Dreams (1998)
The Sky is Falling (2000)
Are you scared of the dark? (2004)
Mistress of the Game (2009) (with Tilly Bagshawe)
The Other Side of Midnight (1974)
Midnight Memories (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 the Drippy Activity Book (1996)
Fun with Drippy the Runaway Raindrop (2004)
The Other Side of Me (2005)