65 Facts About Norman Mailer


Nachem Malech Mailer, known by his pen name Norman Kingsley Mailer, was an American novelist, journalist, playwright, filmmaker and actor.


Norman Mailer was a cultural commentator and critic, expressing his often controversial views through his novels, journalism, frequent press appearances and essays, the most famous and reprinted of which is "The White Negro".


In 1960, Norman Mailer was convicted of assault and served a three-year probation after he stabbed his wife Adele Morales with a penknife, nearly killing her.


Nachem "Norman" Malech Mailer was born to a Jewish family in Long Branch, New Jersey, on January 31,1923.


Norman Mailer's father, Isaac Barnett Mailer, popularly known as "Barney", was an accountant born in South Africa, and his mother, Fanny, ran a housekeeping and nursing agency.


Norman Mailer was raised in Brooklyn, first in Flatbush on Cortelyou Road and later in Crown Heights at the corner of Albany and Crown Streets.


Norman Mailer graduated from Boys High School and entered Harvard College in 1939, when he was 16 years old.


Norman Mailer published his first story, "The Greatest Thing in the World", at the age of 18, winning Story magazine's college contest in 1941.


Norman Mailer drew on his experience as a reconnaissance rifleman for the central action of the novel: a long patrol behind enemy lines.


Norman Mailer wrote his fourth novel, An American Dream, as a serial in Esquire magazine over eight months, publishing the first chapter two months after he wrote it.


Norman Mailer spent a longer time writing Ancient Evenings, his novel of Egypt in the Twentieth Dynasty, than any of his other books.


Norman Mailer worked on it for periods from 1972 until 1983.


Norman Mailer undertook a huge amount of research for the novel, which is still on CIA reading lists.


Norman Mailer ended the novel with the words "To be continued" and planned to write a sequel, titled Harlot's Grave, but other projects intervened and he never wrote it.


Castle was intended to be the first volume of a trilogy, but Norman Mailer died several months after it was completed.


Norman Mailer's articles published in this column, 17 in total, were important in his development of a philosophy of hip, or "American existentialism," and allowed him to discover his penchant for journalism.


In 1960, Mailer wrote "Superman Comes to the Supermarket" for Esquire magazine, an account of the emergence of John F Kennedy during the Democratic Party convention.


The essay was an important breakthrough for the New Journalism of the 1960s, but when the magazine's editors changed the title to "Superman Comes to the Supermart", Norman Mailer was enraged, and would not write for Esquire for years.


Norman Mailer took part in the October 1967 march on the Pentagon, but initially had no intention of writing a book about it.


Norman Mailer said he got the idea from reading The Education of Henry Adams when he was a Harvard freshman.


Norman Mailer employs many of the most common techniques of fiction in his creative nonfiction.


Norman Mailer obsessed over The Deer Park more than he did over any other work.


Norman Mailer received a head injury when Torn struck him with a hammer, and Torn's ear became infected when Norman Mailer bit it.


In 1976, Norman Mailer went to Italy for several weeks to collaborate with Italian Spaghetti Western filmmaker Sergio Leone on an adaptation of the Harry Grey novel The Hoods.


In 1987, Norman Mailer was to appear in Jean-Luc Godard's experimental film version of Shakespeare's King Lear, to be shot in Switzerland.


Originally, Norman Mailer was to play the lead character, Don Learo, in Godard's unscripted film alongside his daughter, Kate Norman Mailer.


In 1997, Norman Mailer was set to direct the boxing drama "Ringside," based on an original script by his son Michael and two others.


In 2005, Norman Mailer served as a technical consultant on the Ron Howard boxing movie Cinderella Man, about legendary boxer Jim Braddock.


Two later works co-written by Norman Mailer presented imagined words and thoughts in Monroe's voice: the 1980 book Of Women and Their Elegance and the 1986 play Strawhead, which was produced off Broadway starring his daughter Kate Norman Mailer.


Norman Mailer covered the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in 1960,1964,1968,1972,1992, and 1996, although his account of the 1996 Democratic convention has never been published.


Norman Mailer held the position that the Cold War was not a positive ideal for America.


Norman Mailer critiqued conservative politics as they, specifically those of Barry Goldwater, supported the Cold War and an increase in government spending and oversight.


This, Norman Mailer argued, stood in opposition with conservative principles such as lower taxes and smaller government.


Norman Mailer believed that conservatives were pro-Cold War because that was politically relevant to them and would therefore help them win.


Indeed, Norman Mailer was outspoken about his mistrust of politics in general as a way of meaningful change in America.


President Johnson, Norman Mailer thought, was just as bad as Nixon had been, but he had good charisma so all was forgiven.


In September 1961, Mailer was one of 29 original prominent American sponsors of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee organization with which John F Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was associated in 1963.


In 1980, Norman Mailer spearheaded convicted killer Jack Abbott's successful bid for parole.


Norman Mailer, impressed, helped to publish In the Belly of the Beast, a book on life in the prison system consisting of Abbott's letters to Norman Mailer.


In 1989, Norman Mailer joined with a number of other prominent authors in publicly expressing support for colleague Salman Rushdie, whose The Satanic Verses led to a fatwa issued by Iran's Islamic government calling for Rushdie's assassination.


From 1980 until his death in 2007, Norman Mailer contributed to Democratic Party candidates for political office.


In 1969, at the suggestion of feminist Gloria Steinem, his friend the political essayist Noel Parmentel, and others, Norman Mailer ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic Party primary for mayor of New York City, allied with columnist Jimmy Breslin, proposing the creation of a 51st state through New York City secession.


Norman Mailer enjoyed drawing and drew prolifically, particularly toward the end of his life.


Norman Mailer uses frequent allusion and direct use of body-oriented language to describe power structures in Miami and the Siege of Chicago in the form of the "military spine of the liberal party" and in the "knifelike entrance into culture" of jazz in The White Negro.


Norman Mailer elevates the reader experience, and wrestles the reader for domination while allowing room for interpretation.


Norman Mailer focused on Jazz as the ultimate expression of African-American bravado, and figures like Miles Davis would become represented in works like An American Dream.


Norman Mailer became even more fascinated with African-Americans after meeting Baldwin, and this friendship inspired Norman Mailer to write "The White Negro".


Norman Mailer often commented on Baldwin's work, and Baldwin did the same to Norman Mailer.


Norman Mailer believed that Mailer did not fully recognize the benefits from his status as a heterosexual male.


Norman Mailer fathered eight children by his various wives and informally adopted his sixth wife's son from another marriage.


Norman Mailer stabbed her once in the chest and once in the back.


Norman Mailer claimed he had stabbed Adele "to relieve her of cancer".


Norman Mailer was involuntarily committed to Bellevue Hospital for 17 days.


Norman Mailer was the only daughter of Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll, a Scottish aristocrat and clan chief with a notorious private life, and his first wife Janet Gladys Aitken, who was a daughter of the press baron Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook.


Norman Mailer was the mother of two of his sons, producer Michael Mailer and actor Stephen Mailer.


Norman Mailer's fifth wife was Carol Stevens, a jazz singer whom he married on November 7,1980, and divorced in Haiti on November 8,1980, thereby legitimating their daughter Maggie, born in 1971.


Norman Mailer raised and informally adopted Matthew Norris, Church's son by her first husband, Larry Norris.


In 2005, Norman Mailer co-wrote a book with his youngest child, John Buffalo Norman Mailer, titled The Big Empty.


Norman Mailer struck up a conversation with Leonard after recognizing her.


Norman Mailer invited Mailer to lunch and made her pitch for his services as a writer.


Leonard then asked if he'd be interested in adapting his novel-biography of Marilyn Monroe, but Norman Mailer replied that he wanted to do something original.


Norman Mailer attended the dinner where, among other things, Dershowitz explained why the evidence pointed to von Bulow's innocence.


Norman Mailer died of acute renal failure on November 10,2007, a month after undergoing lung surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York.


In 2003, the Norman Mailer Society was founded to help ensure the legacy of Mailer's work.


In 2014, Mailer's biographer J Michael Lennon chose 712 of those letters and published them in Selected Letters of Norman Mailer, which covers the period between the 1940s and the early 2000s.