Sidney Sheldon

With a life as compelling as any of his best-selling novels, Sidney Sheldon rose from small-time screenwriter to internationally famous novelist and a master storyteller.


Sidney Sheldon was born on 11th February 1917, in Chicago, USA. After spending six months at Northwestern University during the Depression era, Sheldon dropped out to support his family, making money as a radio joke-writer and a movie house usher, before moving to Hollywood to become a writer, eventually landing a $17 a week job as a script editor, in 1937.

Having spent a year on active service in the US Airforce (1941), Sheldon began writing ‘B’ movies with collaborator, Ben Roberts. His first screen-writing credit came in 1941, with the film 'Mr. District Attorney' and the 'Carter Case', although it was in scripting musicals that he found his first measure of success.

In 1948, Sheldon won an Academy Award for his script to 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'. However, his efforts as a director and producer rarely matched his accomplishments as a scriptwriter, and later as a novelist.

In 1959 he won a Tony Award for the Best Musical with 'Redhead', as well as becoming an extraordinarily prolific scriptwriter for such shows as 'I Dream of Jeannie' and 'Patty Duke'. Sheldon’s first novel, 'The Naked Face', was described by the New York Times as “the best first mystery of the year”, and was the first in a seemingly endless production of bestsellers, including 'The Other Side of Midnight' (1974) and 'The Best Laid Plans'(1997).

Sheldon died from complications relating to pneumonia in 2007, leaving a wife, Alexandra Kostoff, and a daughter, Mary. His publishers, William Morris, estimate that there are some 275 million copies of his books in circulation across the globe.