Sidney Sheldon
Sidney Sheldon
Sidney Sheldon created the NBC-TV series I Dream of Jeannie.
General Information:
Alias(es): None
Sex: Male
Status: Deceased
Nationality: White (Jewish)
Birth name: Sidney Schehctel
Date of birth: (1917-02-11) 11 February 1917 (age 101)
Born in: Chicago, Illinois, US
Died: 30 January 2007(2007-01-30) (aged 89)
Died in: Rancho Mirage, California
Resides in Resided in Rancho Mirage, CA
Spouse(s): Jane Kaufman Harding (1945–1948; divorced)
Jorja Curtright (1951–1985; her death; 1 child)
Alexandra Joyce Kostoff (1989–2007; his death)
Related to: Mary Sheldon (daughter)
Series/character information
Appeared on/in
and/or involved with:
I Dream of Jeannie
Number of episodes: 139 episodes, 56 total as writer (1 teleplay, 1 story)
Job on series: Creator/Screenwriter
Appeared as: None

Sidney Sheldon (11 February 1917 - 30 January 2007) created I Dream of Jeannie, and also served as executive producer for the final three seasons. He also wrote a total of 56 episodes of the series, some under the pseudonyms Christopher Golato, Allan Devon, and Mark Rowane. In 1967, he won an Emmy Award for his work on ABC-TV's I Dream of Jeannie.

Sidney began his career as a screenwriter and eventually moved into television, writing nearly every episode of The Patty Duke Show. Sheldon later wrote eighteen novels, including best-sellers like Master of the Game and Rage of Angels. He is the seventh best selling author of all time.[citation needed]


Early life and career

Born Sidney Schechtel, and raised in Chicago to Jewish parents, Sidney began writing as a youngster and at the age of ten, he made his first sale of a poem for $10. During the Great Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs and while attending Northwestern University, he contributed short plays to drama groups.

By age of seventeen, young Sidney decided to try his luck in Hollywood. The only job he could find was as a reader of prospective film material at Universal Pictures for $22 a week. At night he wrote his own screenplays and was able to sell one called "South of Panama," to the studio for $250 in 1941.

During World War II, he served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. After the war he established a reputation as being a prolific writer in the New York theater community. At one point during this career he had three musicals on Broadway including a rewritten version of "The Merry Widow," "Jackpot" and "Dream with Music." Eventually he received a Tony award as part of the writing team for the Gwen Verdon hit "Redhead" which brought to the attention of Hollywood.

His first assignment after his return to Hollywood was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple, which won him an Academy Award for best original screenplay of 1947.

In his 1982 interview he described his years under contract with MGM as, "I never stopped working. One day Dore Schary (who was then production head) looked at a list of MGM projects currently under production and noted that I had written eight of them, more than three other writers put together. That afternoon, he made me a producer."

TV career

In the early 1960s when the movie industry was hurting because of television's popularity, Sheldon decided to make a switch. "I suppose I needed money," he remembered. "I met Patty Duke one day at lunch and stated producing 'The Patty Duke Show', (that starred Duke playing two identical cousins). I did something nobody else in TV ever did at that time. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series."

His next series was NBC-TV's I Dream of Jeannie, which he also created as well as produced, lasted five seasons, 1965-1970. The show concerned an astronaut, Captain (later Major) Anthony "Tony Nelson (played by Larry Hagman), who lands on a desert island and discovers a bottle containing a beautiful, 2,000-year-old genie, aptly named Jeannie (Barbara Eden), who accompanies him back to Florida and eventually marries her.

After Gene Nelson left the show, Sheldon's multiple credits for producing, creating, copyrighting, and writing felt to him like an ego trip, so he began writing episodes under the pseudonyms Christopher Golato, Allan Devon, and Mark Rowane.[1]


According to Sidney, "During the last year of I Dream of Jeannie, I decided to try a novel. Each morning from 9 until noon, I had a secretary at the studio take all calls. I mean every single call. I wrote each morning or rather, dictated and then I faced the TV business." The result was The Naked Face, which was scorned by book reviewers but sold 21,000 copies in hardcover. The novel scored even bigger in paperback, where it reportedly sold 3.1 million copies. Thereafter Sheldon name would continually be on the best-seller lists, often reigning on top for months at a time.

Sheldon's books including titles like Rage of Angels, The Other Side of Midnight, Master of the Game and If Tomorrow Comes, provided him with his greatest fame. They featured cleverly plots with sensuality and a high degree of suspense, a device that kept fans from being unable to putting his books down. Several of his novels became television miniseries, often with the Sheldon severing as producer.

Personal life

He suffered from bipolar disorder, which is detailed in his autobiography, The Other Side of Me.

Sidney was married for more than thirty years to Jorja Curtright Sheldon, a stage and film actress who later became a prominent interior decorator. After her death in 1985 he married Alexandra Sheldon, a former child actress and advertising executive, in 1989.[2]


Sheldon died 30 January 2007 of complications from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California according with his wife, Alexandra, was by his side. He was survived by his wife Alexandra, daughter Mary Sheldon, brother Richard, and two grandchildren.[3]


  1. Sheldon, Sidney, The Other Side of Me Grand Central Publishing, 2006
  2. Pg.99 of Portrait of the Stars, 1999, by Gerhard B. Frentzal, published by Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Palm Springs, CA LCCN 98093956, OCLC 41260876, ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  3. "Sidney Sheldon biography". Retrieved August 13, 2015. 

External links