Warren Adler, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 91, was one of the most prolific storytellers of our time.
Adler’s prescient perspective on the universal themes of love, romance, dysfunction and survival speak to the modern world in a unique way. His works have been translated into 25 languages and received stellar reviews from all major publications including: The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, Variety, Publishers Weekly, Glamour, New York Daily News, Time, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Gannett News Service, Chicago Tribune, The London Telegraph, and The Hollywood Reporter. His name is even a clue in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
Born in Brooklyn, Warren Adler was a product of the New York public school system. He graduated from PS91, Brooklyn Technical High School, and New York University, where he majored in English literature.
Inspired by his freshman English Professor Don Wolfe, Adler later went on to study creative writing with Dr. Wolfe when he taught at the New School. There he also studied under Dr. Charles Glicksberg. Among his classmates were Mario Puzo, William Styron, and many other talented writers. In 2009, Adler was the recipient of the “Alumni of the Year” Award at NYU’s College of Arts and Science.
After graduating from New York University with a degree in English literature, Adler worked for the New York Daily News before becoming Editor of the Queens Post, a prize winning weekly newspaper on Long Island. His column ‘Pepper on the Side’ became a staple at a number of newspapers in the country. During the Korean War, he served in the US Army in the Pentagon as the only Washington Correspondent for Armed Forces Press Service where his bylined stories went out weekly to all publications produced by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Prior to his success as a novelist, Adler had a distinguished career as an entrepreneur.
Durng his lifetime, Adler authored over fifty published novels, plays, poems and essays, and more than a hundred short stories. Best known for The War of the Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turned into the dark comedy box office hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito, Adler quickly became the fountainhead of Hollywood screenplay adaptations, fueling an unprecedented bidding war in a Hollywood commission for his unpublished book Private Lies. Tri-State Pictures outbid Warner Bros and Columbia, and purchased the film rights to Private Lies for $1.2 million, the highest sums yet paid then in Hollywood for an unpublished manuscript. Starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas, Random Hearts was described by The New York Times as having “stylistic polish and keenness of observation not often found in American films anymore.” His adapted play based on his novel The War of the Roses has had numerous productions overseas and a Broadway production is planned.
Adler’s The Sunset Gang, a book of short stories about a retirement community was adapted into a television trilogy starring Uta Hagen, Harold Gould, Dori Brenner and Jerry Stiller, garnering Doris Roberts an Emmy nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series’. The Los Angeles Times called it “dramatically daring,” The Wall Street Journal said, “Those stories are in fact, pure drama – moving, comical, and most of all, sharply observed.” The musical version of The Sunset Gang received an Off-Broadway production with music scored by noted composer L. Russell Brown, and a book by Adler. His New York Echoes is also available as an audio book with Emmy Award winning actress Cynthia Nixon narrating this collection of short stories.
In his later years, Adler wrote innumerable blogs for The Huffington Post, and lectured on creative writing, motion picture adaptation, and the future of e-books. He taught novel writing seminars at NYU, and was the sponsor of the ‘Warren Adler Visiting Writer’ series at NYU’s Creative Writing Program. From 2005 to 2012, Adler sponsored the first online Short Story Contest awarding cash prizes to winning submissions from emerging writers the world over. Adler was the founder of the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference and was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jackson Hole Public Library. In addition, Adler sponsored the Warren Adler Short Story contest, a pioneer literary contest on the web.
He was married to Sonia Adler nee Kline, the former editor and co-founder, with her son David, of the Washington Dossier magazine. Another son, Jonathan Robert Adler, now heads ADLER ENTERTAINMENT TRUST which owns the rights to adapt his father’s novels to film and television. Warren and Sonia’s other son Michael, a prolific character actor, serves as the Creative Vice President of ADLER ENTERTAINMENT TRUST.