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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 1 May 1924Alvarado, Texas, USA
Date of Death 29 October 1995New York City, New York, USA  (respiratory failure)

Mini Bio (1)

Terry Southern began writing satirical, outrageous fiction at the age of 12, when he took it upon himself to rewrite various Edgar Allan Poe stories "because they didn't go far enough". After serving as a lieutenant in the army in World War II, he began writing short stories in earnest while studying at the Sorbonne. "The Accident", published in the premier issue of The Paris Review, was the first short story to appear in that magazine. According to Peter Matthiessen, "The Sun and the Stillborn Stars", also by Terry, determined the course of The Paris Review as a venue for short fiction. He admired and befriended influential British novelist Henry Green, who convinced Andre Deutsch to publish his first novel, "Flash and Filigree" (1958). Residing with his first wife Carol in Geneva, he spent days conjuring surrealistic exploits for billionaire trickster Guy Grand in "The Magic Christian" (1958) while at the same time writing Candy (1958) for Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press. He and Gregory Corso presented William Burroughs' beat masterwork "Naked Lunch" to Girodias, convincing him to publish it. Terry published numerous short stories in England, France and America, (anthologized in "Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes"), and co-edited "Writers in Revolt; an Anthology of the Most Controversial Writing in the World Today" (1962) with Alex Trocchi and Richard Seaver.

After settling in an old farmhouse in Connecticut, Terry began contributing regularly to Esquire Magazine. One of his assignments was to interview director Stanley Kubrick, who subsequently invited him to employ his satirical skills on the "Dr. Strangelove" screenplay (1964). A rewarding period in Hollywood followed, including screenplays for the films The Loved One (1965), The Collector (1965), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Casino Royale (1967) and Barbarella (1968). Terry helped inaugurate the independent film movement by co-authoring Easy Rider (1969) and writing and co-producing The End of the Road (1976) with his old Paris/Greenwich Village hipster soulmate Aram Avakian - filmed entirely on-location in the Berkshires with Actors Studio cast and a non-union crew (including James Earl Jones, Stacy Keach and Gordon Willis). After the publication of the novel "Blue Movie" (1970), he turned to screenwriting full-time, working on original scripts, adaptations and speculative assignments throughout the 70s and 80s.

During this difficult period, when films and "quality-lit" (a phrase he coined) moved from character-driven stories to action-packed blockbuster, the IRS repeatedly attempted to reclaim over $150,000 in unpaid taxes owed from the mid-sixties. He was hired in the early-eighties by Michael O'Donoghue to write for Saturday Night Live (1975), and wrote "The Telephone" (1986) with singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. With legitimate film work increasingly elusive, Terry taught Screenwriting at both NYU and Columbia University from the late 80s until his death in 1995. His last novel, "Texas Summer", was released by Arcade Books in 1992. His novels "The Magic Christian", "Flash and Filigree", "Blue Movie" and "Candy" are available through Grove Atlantic. A new collection, "Now Dig This; The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern 1950-1995" was released by Grove in 2001, as was Terry's biography by Lee Hill, "A Grand Guy, the Art and Life of Terry Southern" (Harper Collins).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gordon Whiting

Spouse (1)

Carol Kauffman (14 July 1956 - 1972) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (9)

Appears on the sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
A native Texan who spoke fluent French, having studied at the Sorbonne on the GI Bill.
Early and important contributor to The Paris Review.
In addition to co-writing the screenplay for Dennis Hopper's iconic biker odyssey Easy Rider (1969), he came up with the title (the original title was "Mardi Gras").
Author of five novels, including Candy and The Magic Christian, as well as two short story collections.
He was visiting his friend Rip Torn on location in New Mexico for The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and was roped into an uncredited cameo as a reporter at Newton's space launch.
Was member of the dramatic jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988.
Served in the US Army during World War II and fought at the Battle of the Bulge.
Longtime companion of actress Gail Gerber whose stage name was Gail Gilmore. She documented her 30 years together with the writer in her award-winning 2010 memoir Trippin' with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember.

Personal Quotes (1)

Well, it was a complete dichotomy, because working with him was like working with two people. He was an ultra-talented person who was one of the fastest improvisers ever. He could add to and enrich a scene or character tremendously beyond what was written. On the other hand, he could take it too far and detract from the quality of humor when it was his own. He was too complicated because he was so insecure. If he had reached the saturation point with the particular innovations he was making and you said 'yeah, I don't think we should go any further with this,' he would take it very personally as though you were putting him down as a friend. He thought you were withdrawing your affection from him or whatever he felt was there. Then he would just get more and more into the improvisation as though he were going to insist on it because then your suggestion would represent more than just the quality of the material. For Sellers, it would represent something excruciatingly personal, which was a lot more important than the movie or any of the aesthetics involved. So it was tough because it was a constant balancing act.

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