During the 1950s and 1960s it seemed that every TV show was written by Stirling Silliphant. His scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Tightrope, Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre, Perry Mason, and, of course, Naked City and Route 66, made him Hollywood’s most produced writer. Later he dominated the disaster film cycle with The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, brought martial arts phenomenon Bruce Lee to screen prominence with Marlowe and Longstreet, won an Oscar® for In the Heat of the Night, and helped create the TV mini-series. He lived the life of a movie star, not a movie writer, attending A-list parties, sailing his yacht around the world, driving posh cars, and turning out one hit after another.
But it came at a price: Four marriages, estranged children, a son’s death, and, ultimately, expatriation. Stirling Silliphant: The Fingers of God intimately explores the life and creative process of the man behind Charly, Pearl, The Grass Harp, Village of the Damned, and other big and small screen events. Drawn from exhaustive interviews conducted by author Nat Segaloff in the years before Silliphant’s 1996 death and augmented by material from his private files, what emerges is a complex portrait of a larger-than-life figure who rose to the top of a larger-than-life industry.
About the Author
Nat Segaloff has written biographies of Arthur Penn and William Friedkin, in-depth profiles of Paul Mazursky, John Milius, and Walon Green; and TV biographies of Stan Lee, Larry King, John Belushi, Darryl F. Zanuck, and Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop. He is a playwright, college instructor, journalist, and producer who loves writing books.
"Stirling Silliphant was a legendary, larger-than-life screenwriter whose brilliant, innovative scripts changed the face of television and film. Nat Segaloff's compelling biography itself feels like the plot for a movie as it chronicles Silliphant's fascinating personality, epical life, and dramatic career."
-- David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of First Blood and The Brotherhood of the Rose
“Seeing as how The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were the two films that first made the 10-year-old me want to pursue a career in the movies, I devoured Mr. Segaloff’s wonderful book about one of our finest screenwriters; a man who brought us from the sublime (In the Heat of the Night) to the ridiculous (The Swarm), with equal parts artistry and verve.“
-- Scott Rosenberg, screenwriter, Con Air and High Fidelity
“Highly-respected film/TV writer Stirling Silliphant gets A+ treatment in this flavorful account of the prolific craftsman. Silliphant's prodigious talents and unique viewpoints shine through this fast-flowing narrative by Nat Segaloff, whose interactions with the Oscar-winning scenarist over many years, gives this detailed study an added dimension. This book is a winner and a choice read!"
-- James Robert Parish, author of It's Good to be the King: The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks
"A slim yet indispensible 234 page biography of prolific, Oscar-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, who penned two of the most groundbreaking television series of all time, Naked City and Route 66."
- Shock Cinema