Estrin, Allen

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PERSONAL: Son of Donald and Mildred (Gust) Estrin; married Susan Chamberlin, June 29, 1985. Education: University of Illinois, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Toby Press, P.O. Box 8531, New Milford, CT 06776-8531.

CAREER: Screenwriter, producer, and educator. The Dennis Prager Show (radio), Los Angeles, CA, producer; American Film Institute, Los Angeles, CA, senior lecturer in screenwriting.

MEMBER: American Film Institute (fellow), Writers Guild of America.


Hollywood Professionals: Volume 6: Capra, Cukor and Brown, 1980.

(Author of script) Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (animated video), Disney Studios, 1998.

(With Joseph Telushkin) Heaven's Witness (novel), Toby Press (New Milford, CT), 2004.

Also writer and/or co-writer of several television movies, series, and series episodes, including Warm Hearts, Cold Feet (movie), 1987; Bare Essentials (movie, also co-producer), 1991; Touched by an Angel (series), 1994; The Practice (series), 1997; Twice in a Lifetime (movie), 1999; and Boston Public (series), 2000.

Author of video scripts, including (with Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and Susan Grossan) For Goodness Sake, produced by Dennis Prager and Richard Markey; and (coauthor) For Goodness Sake II, 1996.

SIDELIGHTS: Allen Estrin is a successful screenwriter who has written several television movies and scripted episodes for several popular television series. For his first novel, he collaborated with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin to write Heaven's Witness, a murder-thriller with a paranormal twist. The story revolves around the 1970 disappearance of a high school student named Beverly Casper. The case has never been solved and is largely forgotten for decades. Then a young actress named Robin Norris, who was born five years after Casper's death, is put under hypnosis by Dr. Jordan Geller during a party. What begins as a form of party entertainment turns serious when Norris begins channeling Casper's spirit and tells Dr. Geller that Casper's killer's name is John and his purpose in murdering Casper was to send her to heaven. Geller, a nononsense medical man, now finds his belief in science as the bedrock of life shaken to the point that he returns to the faith in God he lost as a teenager. While impacting his spiritual life and leading him to believe in reincarnation, Geller's ties to the case also have other effects. When he discloses the hypnosis episode to the police, Geller becomes a suspect in a new series of murders that play out in a fashion similar to the Casper case.

Reviewing Heaven's Witness in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented that "detailed backstories, plus numerous psychoanalytical and New Age tidbits, slow the plot in places, but the past-life angle sustains interest." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Estrin's novel "a fleet, pulpy thriller … that's especially good at balancing belief and skepticism about reincarnation." In a review for Jewish Review Online, Marsha Weil Schiffman called the novel "a wonderful introduction to esoteric Jewish beliefs in reincarnation, though both authors remain agnostic about past-life regression."



Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2004, review of Heaven's Witness, p. 717.

Publishers Weekly, August 16, 2004, review of Heaven's Witness, p. 46.


Internet Movie Database, (March 24, 2005), "Allen Estrin."

Jewish Review Online, (March 24, 2005), Marsha Weil Schiffman, review of Heaven's Witness.