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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Nathaniel Benchley

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Nathaniel Benchley

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Full Name: Nathaniel Goddard Benchley
Born: November 13, 1915
Newton, Massachusetts, USA
Died: December 14, 1981
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Occupation: Writer, Journalist, Painter
Nationality: American


Nathaniel Goddard Benchley was an American author from Massachusetts.

Born in Newton, Massachusetts to a literary family, he was the son of Robert Benchley (1889-1945), a noted American writer, humorist, critic, and actor and one founder of the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, and Gertrude Darling. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College.

Benchley enlisted in the U.S. Navy prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served as a public relations officer, and on destroyers and patrol craft for North Atlantic convoy duty during the Battle of the Atlantic, and was transferred to the Pacific Theater in 1945.

After the war Benchley worked for the weekly magazine Newsweek as an assistant drama editor. Harcourt, Brace published Benchley's first book in 1950, Side Street, a novel featuring "hilarious activities of two New York City families living in the East Sixties"--that is, living on the East Side of Manhattan near 60th Street. He wrote a biography of his father Robert that McGraw-Hill published in 1955. In 1960 Harper & Row published his second novel, Sail A Crooked Ship, and Random House his first children's book, retold from Sindbad the Sailor with illustrations by Tom O'Sullivan.

Benchley was the respected author of much children's fiction that provides readers an experience of certain animal species, historical settings, and so on (Oscar Otter, Sam The Minuteman, etc). He presented diverse locales and topics: for instance, Bright Candles recounts the experiences of a 16-year-old Danish boy during the German occupation of Denmark in World War II; Small Wolf features a Native American boy who meets white men on the island of Manhattan and learns that their ideas about land are different from those of his own people.

Sail A Crooked Ship was adapted as a comedy feature movie of the same name by Columbia Pictures in 1961. His 1961 novel The Off-Islanders was made into comedy feature The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming by director/producer Norman Jewison in 1965. The Visitors (1965) was adapted as a horror/comedy feature The Spirit Is Willing by Paramount Pictures in 1967. In October 1975, ABC showed the made-for-television drama Sweet Hostage, based on Benchley's 1968 novel Welcome To Xanadu.

Benchley was a friend of the actor Humphrey Bogart and wrote a biography of Bogart published in 1975.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works