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Sheldon, Sidney


SHELDON, SIDNEY (1917– ), U.S. author. Born in Chicago, Sheldon went to Hollywood at 17 to be a screenwriter. He got a job as a script reader for Universal Studios at $17 a week. In his spare time, Sheldon and a collaborator worked on their own scripts, eventually writing a number of "b" pictures for Republic Studios. He joined the Air Force during World War ii and earned pilot's wings. Upon his discharge, he began to write for Broadway. At age 25 he had three musical hits simultaneously on Broadway: Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream With Music. Next came Alice in Arms, starring Kirk *Douglas in his first Broadway appearance, and, later, Redhead with Gwen Verdon, for which Sheldon won a Tony Award. Returning to Hollywood, Sheldon won an Academy Award for The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, starring Cary Grant, and wrote a number of memorable and commercially successful films, including Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, Annie Get Your Gun, Jumbo, and Anything Goes, with Bing Crosby. After leaving Hollywood as a writer/director/producer, he became involved in television when abc asked him to create a show for a young actress named Patty Duke. Over two years, Sheldon wrote 78 scripts for The Patty Duke Show. He then created, wrote, and produced the hit series I Dream of Jeannie, which brought Sheldon an Emmy nomination. The show ran for five years. He also created the popular detective series Hart to Hart. He wrote his first novel, The Naked Face (1970), and it earned the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America for best first novel. Three years later, he produced The Other Side of Midnight, which firmly established him as a bestselling author. Each of his successive novels, A Stranger in the Mirror (1976), Bloodline (1977), and Rage of Angels (1980) through The Sky Is Falling (2001) and Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2004) dominated the bestseller lists. All told, Sheldon wrote over 200 television scripts, 25 major motion pictures, six Broadway plays, 18 novels, which sold more than 300 million copies, and a memoir, The Other Side of Me.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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