Frost, Mark 1953-
FROST, Mark 1953-
PERSONAL: Born 1953. Education: Attended Carnegie Tech.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Hyperion Books, 77 West 66th St., 11th Fl., New York, NY 10023.
CAREER: Novelist and screenwriter. Midwestern Playwright's Lab, playwright in residence; Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN, literary associate; Universal Pictures, television writer; producer and director for film and television series, including American Chronicles, Fox, 1990; Hugh Hefner: Once upon a Time (documentary), 1992; and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, 1992.
AWARDS, HONORS: Emmy Award nomination, outstanding writing in a drama series, 1983, and Writers Guild award, both for Hill Street Blues; two Emmy Award nominations, outstanding drama series, and outstanding writing in a drama series, both 1990, and Peabody Award, all for Twin Peaks; United States Golf Association (USGA) International Book Award, 2002, for The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf.
The Believers, Orion, 1987.
(With Daniel F. Bacaner and Richard Friedman) Scared Stiff, International Film Marketing, 1987.
Storyville, Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.
The Repair Shop, 1998.
Unreleased screenplays include (with David Lynch) One Saliva Bubble, and (with R. Lance Hill) Blind Luck. Also wrote Good Morning, Chicago, The 72-Hour Club, The Second Expedition, Lunch at First Sight, Blind Voices, Ghost Diary, True Romance, Gridlock, Traces, and Venus Descending.
(With Steven Bochco, Michael Kozoll, Anthony Yerkovitch, and others) Hill Street Blues, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1981, 1983.
(With Donald Ross, Nicholas Corea, Chris Bunch, and others) Gavilan, NBC, 1982.
(With others) The Equalizer, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1985.
(With others) Twin Peaks, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1990.
(With others) American Chronicles (also known as Real Life), Fox, 1990.
(With others) On the Air, ABC, 1992.
(And executive producer) Buddy Faro, CBS, 1998.
The Nuclear Family (play), produced in Chicago, IL, 1977.
Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1991.
The List of 7 (novel), Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.
The Six Messiahs (novel), Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.
The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of play, Heart Trouble.
SIDELIGHTS: Novelist, screenwriter, producer, and director Mark Frost was first known in the television industry as a writer for the popular Hill Street Blues series in the 1980s, followed by Twin Peaks, the darkly comic series created by Frost and director David Lynch in 1990-91. Frost and Lynch developed the pilot program and stories for the first season, and Frost was executive story editor for the second. Frost and Lynch also collaborated on several other projects.
The supernatural and mystical tones of Twin Peaks are foreshadowed and reflected in Frost's two motion picture screenplays, The Believers and Storyville. The Believers, set in dingy and dark New York dwellings, centers on a police psychologist in pursuit of a cult of voodoo murderers. Washington Post writer Hal Hinson stated that "the movie's dread atmosphere begins to seep into your head." Storyville, a gothic thriller set in New Orleans, features Cray Fowler, a young lawyer who decides to run for Congress while, at the same time, investigating his father's death. He becomes involved with a beautiful Vietnamese woman whose father is murdered, and Fowler ends up defending her at trial in what Hinson called "the intrigue of a hall of mirrors." In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote that Frost "plunges into the dark waters of his plot with real joy."
Both of Frost's novels involve occult themes. His debut novel, The List of 7, features Arthur Conan Doyle, a physician and student of the supernatural, who later became famous as the author of the Sherlock Holmes series. In The List of 7, Frost has Doyle in hiding after an 1884 London evening seance results in brutality and murder. He is chased by hooded zombies masterminded by a man named Sparks, whose brother, Jack Sparks, teams up with Doyle in a lethal cat-and-mouse game. The mysterious Jack, skilled in various martial arts and the head of a band of reformed crooks, eventually becomes Doyle's inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. Booklist's Donna Seaman called The List of 7 "a knockout." Seaman further commented that the book is "an engrossing cosmic thriller featuring delectably nonchalant and erudite heroes." Library Journal reviewer Mark Annichiarico called it "thrillingly palatable."
In The Six Messiahs, Conan Doyle, now the famous creator of the Sherlock Holmes series, is headed for an author's publicity tour in America. While crossing the Atlantic by steamship, he becomes involved in the burglary of a prized manuscript. Onboard the ship, Doyle is saved from a gang of killers by Jack Sparks, reappearing ten years after his supposed death. In America, Doyle encounters six strangers. Fascinated by their hypnotic draw, he tracks them to the Wild West where, according to Emily Melton in Booklist, "shocking revelations" and "a most surprising climax" await them. A Publishers Weekly contributor called The Six Messiahs a "classic-style, slam-bang adventure." Annichiarico declared the book "an exciting romp," while Melton called it "entertaining and gripping."
Booklist's Bill Ott called Frost's The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf "the most compelling sports book since Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling Seabiscuit." Francis Ouimet grew up poor within sight of The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, where Boston Brahmins were learning the new game of golf. Ouimet and his brother recovered stray balls, dug a few holes in their yard, and taught themselves the game, later becoming caddies at the club when they were old enough. Ouimet eventually rose to become the Massachusetts State amateur champion in 1913. At the same time, Harry Vardon was a privileged British golf champion who overcame neurological damage to his right hand caused by a 1903 bout with tuberculosis to win the British Open five times before he and Ouimet met. Vardon is also credited with having developed the modern grip and swing. Frost follows their development and delves into their relationships with their fathers, both of whom disapproved of the paths they had chosen, and Ouimet's relationship with his caddy, ten-year-old Eddie Lowery. The first half of the volume also profiles sports writers and golfers of the period, including America's playboy golfer, Walter Hagen.
Impressed with Ouimet's amateur win, the president of the USGA signed him up for the pro event. The second half of the book documents the week of the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline, where twenty-year-old Ouimet, against tremendous odds and carrying only ten clubs, defeated both Vardon and British pro Ted Ray, becoming the first amateur to win the event. David Owen wrote in the New York Times Book Review that Frost "tells this story at the perfect pace, and provides just enough biographical context to enable the reader to make sense of the characters and their significance." A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that "Frost's final chapters on the last two rounds of the 1913 Open have all the page-turning excitement of a blockbuster novel."
John Hopkins reviewed The Greatest Game Ever Played for the London Times, writing that "it is not stretching a point too much to suggest that if it were not for what Ouimet did against Vardon and Ray at Brookline then the names of his later countrymen might not have the same resonance as they do now, because golf might not have become as important as it has. This is an extraordinary book, bulging with research." A Kirkus Reviews writer called it "captivating entertainment."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, April 28, 1990, Thomas H. Stahel, review of Twin Peaks, p. 433.
Booklist, September 1, 1993, Donna Seaman, review of The List of 7, p. 39; July, 1995, Emily Melton, review of The Six Messiahs, p. 1863; October 15, 2002, Bill Ott, review of The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf, p. 377.
Chicago Sun-Times, October 9, 1992, Roger Ebert, review of Storyville.
Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2002, review of The Greatest Game Ever Played, p. 1443.
Library Journal, July, 1993, Mark Annichiarico, review of The List of 7, p. 119; June 1, 1995, Mark Annichiarico, review of The Six Messiahs, p. 160.
Newsweek, September 3, 1990, Harry F. Water, review of American Chronicles, p. 72.
New York, May 7, 1990, John Leonard, review of Twin Peaks, pp. 32-39.
New York Times Book Review, December 8, 2002, David Owen, review of The Greatest Game Ever Played, p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, June 5, 1995, review of The Six Messiahs, p. 53; September 16, 2002, review of The Greatest Game Ever Played, p. 57.
Times (London, England), November 9, 2002, John Hopkins, review of The Greatest Game Ever Played, p. 45.
Washington Post, June 10, 1987, Hal Hinson, review of The Believers; October 9, 1992, Hal Hinson, review of Storyville.*