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January, 2008


Larry Brody TV Writer.com

Sidney Sheldon (1917-2007)
An immortal imprint
By  Rowdy Rhodes

Sidney Sheldon (1917-2007)
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." Albert Pike (1809 - 1891)

Sidney Sheldon left an immortal imprint upon the world, and his passing in January at age 89 leaves us with the loss of an advocate of indomitable women.

Sheldon worked his way through four separate careers during his life, succeeding at all of them. His first three writing careers, Broadway theatre, movies, and television garnered him numerous awards.

Born in Chicago, February 17, 1917, his writing career started at the grand old age of 10 when he made his first sale. A piece of poetry purchased for $10.00 US. It was the beginning of what would turn out to be a long and extremely creative road. A man who survived the Depression by working a variety of jobs while attending Northwestern University, who then made it through WWII as a pilot in the US Army Air Force, he was not adverse to hard work and taking risks.

In 1934, Sheldon the teenager had big dreams and made his way to Hollywood to conquer the world of the big screen. He ended up as a prospective screenplay reader. Although not what he was looking for, the job earned him a steady weekly salary, gave him the foot in the door, and at night he began writing his own screenplays. Universal Studios bought South Of Panama for $250.00 US. He was in, but then WWII came along and took him back out again.

After the war, in New York, he set upon writing like a starving dog would a bone. He became a prolific stage play writer and, at one point, had three different musicals running on Broadway at the same time: The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream With Music. His Broadway successes brought him full circle back to Hollywood where he picked up an Oscar in 1947: Best Original Screenplay for The Bachelor And The Bobby-Soxer. He soon moved on and became a producer working with MGM Studios, but within a few years the movie industry was being hard hit by television. As is often the case with extremely talented and gifted writers, Sheldon switched mediums and turned his eye to TV.

He produced The Patty Duke Show and wrote almost every episode for seven years. At the time, this was an accomplishment that no other producer had achieved. He then created and produced I Dream of Jeannie, a smashing television success that kept him in small-screen writing for another five years. But inside him were books dying to get out, and when the show ceased production in 1970, Sheldon turned his gift of writing to novels. As I Dream Of Jeannie was winding down, but still being produced, he took each morning to begin writing his first book: The Naked Face.

Initially the book bombed in hardcover format, but when the publisher converted it to paperback sales rocketed to over three million copies. Soon the world became very much aware of this prolific writer. Already under his belt were an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy; but he knew that he had finally found what he needed as a creative outlet: novels.

When most writers of the day were using typewriters, Sheldon preferred to dictate his stories and produced 50 or more pages daily that were then transcribed and handed back to him the next day for corrections. He would write in this manner until he had his first draft. He would then begin re-writing. Sometimes spending over a year performing 12 to 15 re-writes before he was finally satisfied with what he had created.

When asked why woman purchased so many of his books he explained that he enjoyed writing about capable, talented women who retained their femininity. He believed that femininity provides women with immense power.

His style of writing was reminiscent, and greatly influenced, by his years in television. He wrote cliff-hanging prose chapter-by-chapter that encouraged the reader to turn every page. Writing in this fashion was a Sheldon obsession and paramount in both his writing challenges and successes, which is why he became a steady frequenter of best-seller lists, often reigning on top for long periods of time.

His wife, Alexandra, and his daughter, author Mary Sheldon, survive him. Our collective condolences go out to the family. He was truly an admirable author.

Bibliography:

The Naked Face (1970)
The Other Side of Midnight (1974)
A Stranger in the Mirror (1976)
Bloodline (1977)
Rage of Angels (1980)
Master of the Game (1982)
If Tomorrow Comes (1985)
Windmill of the Gods (1987)
The Sands of Time (1988)
Memories of Midnight (1990)
The Doomsday Conspiracy (1991)
The Stars Shine Down (1992)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1994)
Morning, Noon, and Night (1995)
The Best Laid Plans (1997)
Tell Me Your Dreams (1998)
The Sky Is Falling (2000)
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (2004)
The Other Side of Me: A Memoir (2005)

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Rowdy Rhodes is the Site Manager of The Freelance Writing Organization International and General Manager of Inkwell Newswatch (IN). He is also known to freelance an article or two when the fancy strikes him. If you are looking for written content for your web site, ezine, or print publication, drop him a line at rowdyrhodes@fwointl.com and he'll get back to you as soon as possible.

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© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

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Bald Ego
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

Poetry
The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

Pegasus
It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

Re-Verse
The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at FatherGoose.com


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