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Schiller, Lawrence (Julian) 1936-

SCHILLER, Lawrence (Julian) 1936-

PERSONAL: Born December 28, 1936, in New York, NY; son of Isidore (a merchant) and Jean (a department store buyer; maiden name, Liebowitz) Schiller; married Judith Holtzer, 1961 (divorced, 1975); married Stephanie Wolf, November 5, 1977 (divorced); married Ludmilla Peresvetova (a translator), 1991 (divorced); married Kathy Amerman (a photographer), February 15, 1997; children: (first marriage) Suzanne, Marc, Howard; (second marriage) Anthony, Cameron. Education: Pepperdine College, B.A., 1958. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Chasin Agency, 8899 Beverly Boulevard, Suite 716, Los Angeles, CA 90048. E-mail—Polaris_ls@msn.com.

CAREER: Director, producer, photographer, cinematographer, film editor, and actor. Producer and director, Hey, I'm Alive!, 1975; producer and creator of montages and flying sequences, The Winds of Kitty Hawk, 1978; producer and director of special sequences, Marilyn: The Untold Story, 1980; producer of The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, 1977, An Act of Love: The Patricia Neal Story, 1981, Raid on Short Creek (also known as Child Bride of Short Creek), 1981, Her Life As a Man, 1984, Murder: By Reason of Insanity (also known as My Sweet Victim), 1985; producer and director, The Executioner's Song, 1982. Photojournalist with magazines, including Sport, 1956-60, Sports Illustrated, 1956-64, Life, 1958-70, Saturday Evening Post, 1958-1970, Paris Match, 1960-1969, London Sun Times, 1960-1969, Stern, 1960-1969, and Look, 1963-65. Appeared in The Executioner's Song (television miniseries), 1982. Moscow International Forum on Peace, American delegate, 1987; American-Soviet Film Initiative, chair of the board of directors, 1988; U.S.S.R.-U.S.A. Bilateral talks, member, 1988.

MEMBER: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Director's Guild of America, National Press Photographers Association, California Press Photographers Association, Screen Actors Guild.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Press Photographers Association Award, National Press Photographers, 1975, for The Man Who Skied Down Everest; Pulitzer Prize, 1980, for The Executioner's Song; Emmy Award, for outstanding miniseries, 1986, for Peter the Great; Emmy Award, for Marilyn: The Untold Story and for The Executioner's Song.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

(Author of foreword and photographer) Richard Alpert and Sidney Cohen, LSD, New American Library, (New York, NY), 1966.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer, with Richard Warren Lewis) Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report: The Endless Paradox, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1967.

(With Susan Atkins) Killing of Sharon Tate, Signet (New York, NY), 1970.

(Investigator, compiler, interviewer, and photographer) Norman Mailer, Marilyn, a Biography, Grosset and Dunlap (New York, NY), 1973.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Norman Mailer, The Faith of Graffiti, Praeger (New York, NY), 1974.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Albert Goldman, Ladies and Gentlemen—Lenny Bruce!, Random House (New York, NY), 1975.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Wilfrid Sheed, Muhammad Ali: A Portrait in Words and Photographs, Crowell (New York, NY), 1975.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1979.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) O. J. Simpson, I Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters, Your Messages, Your Questions (also known as I Want to Tell You), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Norman Mailer, Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

(With James Willwerth) American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Cape May Court House, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Into the Mirror: The Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen, research by Norman Mailer, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

(Investigator, compiler, and interviewer) Charles Brennan, Boulder: Jon-Benet and the West, HarperCollins (New York, NY), forthcoming.

TELEVISION MOVIES

(Director, producer, and cinematographer) The Lexington Experience (screenplay), Corda, 1971.

(Director, editor, producer, and screenwriter) The American Dreamer (screenplay), EYR, 1971.

(Director, with Marvin J. Chomsky) Peter the Great (miniseries), National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC), 1985.

(Producer and director) Margaret Bourke-White (also known as Double Exposure and Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White), Turner Network Television (TNT), 1989.

(Director) The Plot to Kill Hitler, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 1990.

(Producer and director) Double Jeopardy, Showtime, 1992.

(Producer, director, and executive producer) Perfect Murder, Perfect Town (miniseries), Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 2000.

(Producer and director, with Norman Mailer) Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story, Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), 2002.

PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR FOR TELEVISION SPECIALS

(And creator of special still montages and titles) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 1969.

(And cinematographer) The Lexington Experience, Corda, 1971.

(And editor) The American Dreamer, EYR, 1971.

(And creator of special still montages and titles) Lady Sings the Blues, Paramount Pictures Corporation, 1972.

SIDELIGHTS: Lawrence Schiller is a photographer, filmmaker, author, interviewer, and entrepreneur whose talent has been his ability to pop up in the middle of historic events. He was in Utah when killer Gary Gilmore was executed, in Texas when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, and has reported on Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon, and Lenny Bruce. He was able to visit O. J. Simpson eleven times while Simpson was in jail—when other reporters could not—and helped Simpson publish the 1994 taperecorded sessions of his visits as I Want to Tell You. Schiller later broke his ties with Simpson to write, with James Willwerth (a Time correspondent who covered the trial), American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense, which became a 1997 New York Times bestseller.

Schiller's career has been controversial. In addition to documenting the LSD culture during the 1960s, he conducted the last interview with Jack Ruby before he died, using a tape recorder hidden inside a briefcase. Before that 1967 interview, Schiller had secured the world magazine rights for Bob Jackson's photograph of Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, President Kennedy's assassin. Jackson won the Pulitzer Prize for the picture, but Schiller has the original print framed at his home.

Schiller started his career as a photographer. His photographs, such as that of astronaut Bob White with his son in 1962, have appeared on the covers of magazines, including Life. In 1962 Schiller took nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe, including the famous shot which appeared in Playboy. According to Schiller, Hugh Hefner paid him the highest price he had ever paid for photography at that time, twenty-five thousand dollars for one photo alone.

In 1973 Schiller and Norman Mailer collaborated with twenty other photographers on Marilyn, a Biography, a book using Schiller's photos of Monroe and Mailer's text. This began a long relationship with Mailer that also produced the collaboration for The Executioner's Song, a book about Gary Gilmore which won Mailer the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. Schiller himself produced and directed television movies about Monroe, Marilyn: The Untold Story, and Gilmore, Executioner's Song, both of which won Emmy awards.

After Kennedy was assassinated, journalist Richard Warren Lewis used Schiller's investigation of the crime to write Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report: The Endless Paradox. A decade later, in 1977, Schiller produced a television film, Trial of Lee HarveyOswald, knowing there would again be interest in President Kennedy's death after a sufficient passage of time. According to Hugh Aynesworth in an Insight on the News review, "Schiller has always had a nose for big-bucks journalism." Mailer, after Schiller's nudging and access to KGB files in 1992, wrote Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery. Schiller arranged the trip to Russia and Mailer agreed to participate, explaining on a talk show, "Larry can do things I can't do." Schiller told Playboy, "I had a name in Russia. I was invited to Mikhail Gorbachev's peace conference and then to be a negotiator on the bilateral talks in Russia between the U.S. government and the U.S. Information Agency." Schiller went back a second time, hooking up with a translator he had met, Ludmilla Peresvetova. To protect her from the accusations by the KGB that she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, Schiller married the translator in 1991, making her his third wife. When the Mailer-Schiller project was done, the couple divorced.

In 1975, Schiller branched into television work as both a film director and a producer. He directed Hey, I'm Alive!, a dramatization of a 1963 plane crash in which a young woman and an older man managed to survive forty-nine days in the wilderness of Alaska. A 1986 television mini-series, Peter the Great, won three Emmy awards and is considered by critics the best mini-series for that year. This was the first U.S. television production to be filmed inside what was then the Soviet Union. In 1989, Schiller directed Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White, a look at the life of the brilliant wartime photographer. American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense provoked as much controversy as Schiller himself with critics. Gail Collins, a critic for the New York Times Book Review, wrote, "The most famous anecdote in the book concerns the defense team's redecoration of Mr. Simpson's house before a visit from the mainly black jury. Down goes the nude picture of his girlfriend Paula Barbieri; up goes Mr. Cochran's Norman Rockwell poster of a small black girl being escorted to school by Federal marshals." In a Playboy interview Schiller admitted that Simpson was incensed by the decorating changes. "He was screaming. I kept saying to him, 'Read the book, O. J. Stop it! Wait until you read it in the book. It's out of context.' I said, 'I didn't say you changed the pictures. I didn't say you knew about it or wanted it done. But he continued screaming.'" Schiller was disturbed by Simpson's intense anger, wondering aloud, "Is there insanity in the reaction I got from Simpson?" James Collins, writing for Time, commented that Schiller's American Tragedy has provoked "a battery of charges and countercharges about ethics and truthfulness." Others, including Simpson's lead attorney Johnny L. Cochran, Jr., and Jeffrey Toobin, author of another Simpson book, contend that Schiller himself has questionable ethics. Schiller confesses that the book and his relationship with Simpson were opportunities that might pay off. "It was a way of ingratiating [my]self to Simpson and the defense team. I admit it!," he told Playboy.

Cape May Court House offers, according to a Publishers Weekly review, "a just-the-facts account" of the wrongful death lawsuit and resulting homicide investigation in the case of Eric and Tracy Thomas. In the winter, 1997, while driving their Ford Explorer on a New Jersey highway, Eric and Tracy Thomas were involved in a collision. Arriving at the scene, police found Eric unconscious, Tracy dead in the driver's seat, and their child alive and unharmed strapped in the safety seat. The suspected cause of death, according to the medical examiner, was the inflated airbag in the Thomases' Ford Explorer. As a result, Eric Thomas filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company. But questions remained concerning Tracy's relationship with her husband, his swift remarriage, and the lack of documentation of prior accidents of suffocation by an inflated airbag. Consequently, Ford charged Eric Thomas with murder, by strangulation, of his wife. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the narrative "compelling" and commented that it "keeps the pages turning."

Into the Mirror: The Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen tells the story of FBI agent Robert P. Hanssen whose arrest in February, 2001, brought an end to twenty years of selling classified information to the Russians. Into the Mirror is the result of a collaboration between Schiller and Norman Mailer. The book is based on a screenplay about Hanssen that Mailer had written. Publishers Weekly called the book "a brisk, page-turning dramatization." In an interview with Dann McDorman of Publishers Weekly, Schiller said that he and Mailer "did a considerable amount of research, including 30-plus hours of interviews with the immediate Hanssen family." In order to "understand what drove [Hanssen] to betray so many people," Schiller said that the work was "fiction based on fact" and that the decision he and Mailer made "to go down the road of fiction was not a difficult choice. It was the only way to get inside the mind of Hanssen." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that "given that Hanssen can never speak to the press," as a result of the plea-bargain agreement he made with the U.S. Department of Justice, "Schiller's book is likely to be as close as we'll ever get to the mind of the most heinous spy in FBI history."

Schiller continued to pursue challenges, tackling in Boulder the 1996 murder case of Jon-Benet Ramsey, a six-year-old beauty contestant in Colorado. The editor-in-chief of HarperCollins, Joelle Delbourgo, commented, "Like Truman Capote, John Berendt, and Joe McGinnis, Lawrence Schiller possesses a keen eye, and an uncanny capacity to put people at ease. Any writer would have his work cut out for him, given the morass of speculation, rumor and criticism attached to the Ramsey case."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 18, 1998, Volume 29, 2000.

Goldman, Albert, Ladies and Gentlemen—Lenny Bruce, Random House (New York, NY), 1974.

Mailer, Norman, Marilyn, a Biography, Grosset and Dunlap (New York, NY), 1973.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2002, review of Into the Mirror: The Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen, p. 1799; October 1, 2002, Danise Hoover, p. 283.

Entertainment Weekly, November 1, 1996, Gene Lyons, American Tragedy: The Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense, p. 64.

Good Housekeeping, May, 1993, p. 162.

Insight on the News, June 12, 1995, Hugh Aynesworth, "Norman Mailer Goes to Minsk, but Fails to Solve the Mystery," p. 24.

Library Journal, July, 1967, p. 2597.

New Republic, July 17, 1995, p. 46; December 9, 1996, p. 27.

Newsweek, June 3, 1974, pp. 75-77; April 24, 1995, p. 60.

New York Times Book Review, May 2, 1993; November 10, 1996, p. 16; November 17, 2002, John D. Thomas, review of Cape May Court House, p. 57.

People, November 11, 1996, Alex Tresniowski, American Tragedy, p. 39.

Playboy, February 17, 1997, p. 47.

Publishers Weekly, April 3, 1967, p. 55; April 8, 1974, p. 81; November 4, 1996, p. 18; April 29, 2002, review of Into the Mirror, p. 57, and Dann McDorman, "Publishers Weekly Talks with Lawrence Schiller," p. 58; June 17, 2002, review of Cape May Court House, p. 50.

Saturday Review, February 28, 1970, p. 44. Time, October 28, 1996, p. 81.

Time, October 28, 1996, James Collins, review of American Tragedy, p. 81.

Variety, March 19, 2001, Josef Adalian, "Eye Spies a Hanssen Mini," p. 22.

ONLINE

Washington Times,http://www.washtimes.com/ (May 26, 2002), Carol Herman, "The Spy's Story, with a Prop."*

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