Interesting Facts About Sidney Sheldon

Sidney Sheldon was a bestselling American crime fiction and thriller writer, who began his career in Hollywood before trying his hand at novels. He was born Sidney Schechtel in Chicago, Illinois, to Ascher Schechtel, a jewelry store manager, and Natalie Marcus. His books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. Here are a few interesting facts about him:

  • Sidney sold his first piece of writing when he was only 10 years old. It was a poem that he sold for $5 to the Wee Wisdom children magazine.

  • Sheldon attended East High School in Denver and worked a variety of job roles before graduating and enrolling at Northwestern University on a B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation scholarship. After six months, due to the Depression at the time, Sheldon dropped out of university to return home and helped support his family.

  • Sheldon moved to Hollywood in 1937 and his career began, collaborating on films and reviewing scripts.

  • In his early years in Hollywood Sidney Sheldon wrote screenplays including his first successfully sold screenplay South of Panama. He earned $250 for the screenplay in 1941.

  • Sidney Sheldon once had three musicals on Broadway at the same time: The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream with Music.

  • He married Jane Kaufman Harding in 1945. They realized soon after that it had been a mistake and tried to make it work. The marriage ended in 1948.

Jorja Cutright

  • Sidney Sheldon married Jorja Curtright in 1951. They remained married until her death in 1985. They had one child Mary who went on to become a writer as well.

  • Sidney Sheldon’s first novel was The Naked Face. He wrote it in 1969. He was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for the novel.

  • Sidney Sheldon’s second novel The Other Side of Midnight (1973) became #1 on The New York Times bestsellers list.

  • Sidney Sheldon wrote several Broadway Plays including The Merry Widow, Jackpot, Dream with Music, Alice in Arms, Redhead, and Roman Candle.

  • In addition to his 1947 Oscar, Sidney Sheldon won a Tony Award in 1959, and had a Golden Palm Star dedicated to him in 1994 on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

  • Sidney Sheldon died on January 30th, 2007 at the age of 89, following a bout with pneumonia, in Rancho Mirage, California.

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