Sidney Sheldon (February 11, 1917 – January 30, 2007) was an Academy Award-winning American writer who won awards in three careers-a Broadway playwright, a Hollywood TV and movie screenwriter, and a best-selling novelist. His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created The Patty Duke Show (1963-66), I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70) and Hart to Hart (1979–84), but it was not until after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980) that he became most famous.
Sheldon was born Sidney Schechtel in Chicago, Illinois, to parents of Russian Jewish ancestry, Ascher "Otto" Schechtel (1894-1967), manager of a jewelry store, and Natalie Marcus. At 10, he made his first sale, $5 for a poem. During the Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs, attended Northwestern University and contributed short plays to drama groups.
In 1937 he moved to Hollywood, California, where he reviewed scripts and collaborated on a number of B movies. After serving in the military during World War II as a pilot in the War Training Service, a branch of the Army Air Corps, Sheldon returned to civilian life and moved to New York where he began writing musicals for the Broadway stage while continuing to write screenplays for both MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures. He earned a reputation as a prolific writer; for example, at one time he had three musicals on Broadway: a rewritten The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream with Music. His success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood where his first assignment was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay of 1947.