Corman, Avery 1935–

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Corman, Avery 1935–


Born November 28, 1935, in New York, NY; married, November 5, 1967; wife's name Judy (died of cancer, November 15, 2004); children: Matthew, Nicholas. Education: Attended New York University.


Writer and playwright.


(With Marcia Seligson and Mort Gerberg) What Ever Happened to …?, Price (Los Angeles, CA), 1965.

(With Marcia Seligson and Mort Gerberg) You Have a Hang-up If …, Essandess (New York, NY), 1967.

(With Marcia Seligson and Mort Gerberg) The Everything in the World That's the Same as Something Else Book, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1969.

(With Marcia Seligson and Mort Gerberg) More What Ever Happened to …?, Price (Los Angeles, CA), 1971.

Oh, God!: A Novel, Simon & Schuster (Los Angeles, CA), 1971.

Kramer Versus Kramer: A Novel (Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection), Random House (New York, NY), 1977.

The Bust-Out King (novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 1977.

A Conversation with Novelist Avery Corman, Author of Oh God!, Kramer v. Kramer, and The Old Neighborhood (sound recording), Encyclopedia Americana/CBS News Audio Resource Library (New York, NY), 1980.

The Old Neighborhood (novel), Linden Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1980.

50, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

Prized Possessions (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

The Big Hype (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.

A Perfect Divorce (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2004.

The Boyfriend from Hell (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of plays, including Skye, written with Dan Rustin, music by Ben Finn, produced by the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, 1971. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan, McCall's, and New York.


Author's novels have been adapted for film, including Oh, God!, 1977 (plus sequels based on the same novel and titled Oh God!: Book Two, 1980, and Oh God!: You Devil, 1984), and Kramer Versus Kramer, Columbia Pictures, 1979. A Perfect Divorce has been optioned for film by Columbia Pictures, c. 2005.


For years Avery Corman struggled through the anonymous apprenticeship served by most aspiring writers. He wrote plays at first, then educational films and collaborative works with friends, and supplemented it all with magazine articles. He eventually made it to the top of his profession when his novel Oh, God!: A Novel was purchased by Warner Brothers, produced as a major motion picture with George Burns and John Denver, and re-released as a paperback by Bantam in 1977. His next effort, Kramer Versus Kramer: A Novel, enjoyed the same success.

Oh, God! won appreciative reviews. The book is a comic, often satiric treatment of God's return to earth and a freelance writer's unsuccessful efforts to inform the world. The writer is rejected, acclaimed, arrested, detained in Bellevue, and dismissed by a world ecumenical board of miracle examiners. While Corman admitted that he wanted just to write a novel and prove his talent for comedy, he applied a more serious approach to his next book.

With Kramer Versus Kramer, Corman follows the growing relationship between Ted Kramer and his son Billy, after Joanna Kramer leaves the family and pursues her own career. Years later, Joanna launches a custody fight for Billy and wins, despite Ted's demonstrated competence as a father. "It takes a couple of topics that are both universal and timely," remarked Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "and works them into a story told with maximum emotional effect."

Corman's 1991 novel, Prized Possessions, explores date rape. The young, bright, and talented Elizabeth Mason is a singer who, during her first weekend as a freshman at a prestigious school in New York, is raped by her date, Jimmy Andrews, a star tennis player at the school. Although Liz is initially reticent to reveal what happened and even places the guilt on herself, eventually the truth comes out and her family presses charges as Liz struggles to recover her equilibrium. "With Liz's story, Corman takes a tense, disturbing look at the nature of consent and raises critical questions about negative ways in which society still views female sexuality," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. In his next novel The Big Hype, Corman focuses on a writer, Paul Brock, who gains widespread national recognition due to the efforts of a savvy book promoter. Soon, however, Brock finds himself fighting for his artistic integrity. The novel features appearances by various real-life movie stars and writers. A Time contributor noted Corman's "light comic touch."

Corman examines an amicable divorce and the couple's subsequent lives and concern over their son in his novel The Perfect Divorce. Although Rob and Karen Burrows's son Tommy eventually makes good as an artist and the ex-couple's other relationships go awry, the two remain apart, much to the chagrin of their friends, who cannot figure out why they ever got divorced. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted the "tart realism of the early scenes." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented that the author "writes with a warm and wise empathy that could strike a chord with many."

The Boyfriend from Hell focuses on freelance journalist Ronnie, who becomes involved with the handsome Richard Smith after interviewing him for an article about Satanism. After the article is published, Ronnie is given a contract to write a book about Satanism, which leads her to encounter the leader of Richard's satanic cult, Randall Cummings. Ronnie blacks out while interviewing him and finds the cult leader dead when she wakes up. Suspected by the police of killing him, Ronnie has a vision of the devil in a dream and then encounters the same face while walking down the street one day. Ronnie thinks she may be possessed and turns to her childhood Catholic priest for help as the true nature of Richard remains suspect. David Pitt, writing in Booklist, called The Boyfriend from Hell "another winner" by Corman. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted the novel's "fun/creepy first chapters."



Booklist, April 1, 2006, David Pitt, review of The Boyfriend from Hell, p. 18.

Daily Variety, February 16, 2005, Claude Brodesser and Nicole LaPorte, "Corman Tome a ‘Perfect’ Fit for Columbia," p. 1; May 31, 2005, Michael Fleming, "Col Married to Corman Tome," p. 1.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2004, review of A Perfect Divorce, p. 645; April 1, 2006, review of The Boyfriend from Hell, p. 310.

New York Times, October 7, 1977, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Kramer Versus Kramer: A Novel, p. C29.

Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1990, review of The Prized Possessions, p. 64; April 27, 1992, review of The Big Hype, p. 248; October 4, 2004, review of A Perfect Divorce, p. 72.

Time, July 27, 1992, review of The Big Hype, p. 73.

ONLINE, (December 28, 2006), information on author's plays.

Internet Movie Database, (December 28, 2006), information on films based on author's novels.

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Corman, Avery 1935–

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