An American best-selling novelist specializing in the romance genre, Judith Krantz had written numerous articles for magazines like Cosmopolitan, which published her well-known work called “The Myth of the Multiple Orgasm,” McCalls, McCleans and Ladies' Home Journal when she eventually embarked on a successful career as a novelist in the late 1970s. Her first book, “Scruples” (1978), became a No. 1 bestseller at the New York Times. Subsequent efforts like “Princess Daisy” (1980), “Mistral's Daughter” (1982) and “I'll Take Manhattan” (1986) also topped the New York Times bestseller lists. Other works include “Till We Meet Again” (1988), “Dazzle” (1990), “Lovers” (1994), “Spring Collection” (1996) and “The Jewels of Tessa Kent” (1998). She also has released a memoir called “Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl” and written for a TV series called “Secrets” (1992). Many of Krantz's novels have been made into TV mini-seres with her husband taking the duty as executive producer for some of them. Her books also have been translated into more than 50 languages and sold over 80 million copies worldwide.
As for her personal life, Krantz participates in the Advisory Board of Compassion & Choices, an organization dedicated to offering choices for the dying. A New York native who now a resident of Los Angeles, she joined the Board of the Music Center of Los Angeles County in 2006. Krantz and her producer husband Steve Krantz (born in 1923, dead in 2007) shared two sons, Tony and Nicholas.
Childhood and Family:
Known by family and close friends as Judy, Judith Tarcher, professionally known as Judith Krantz, was born on January 9, 1928, in New York, New York. The “youngest, smartest, and shortest girl” in her year, she graduated from the upscale Birch Wathen High School at age 16 and then attended Wellesley College. Later, in 1982, Judy told the Boston Globe that she attended the school with three reasons: to date, to read each novel in the library and to graduate. Dubbed by her dormmates as “Torchy,” she made the dorm dating record for becoming the only girl to have 13 back-to-back dates with 13 different men. Her marks, however, was not as outstanding as her extracurricular activities. She got an A-plus in English, but held a B- average in her major and C average in everything else. During her sophomore year, she had the chance to improve her grades by taking a short-story class. Despite her fine writing, her professor rejected to give her an A because her spelling was awful. In order to teach her a lesson, he gave her the B, and Judy responded by not writing fiction again for 31 years. Upon graduation in 1948, she relocated to Paris, in which she she worked in fashion public relations.
Judy was married to Steve Krantz on February 19, 1954. She first met him at a party hosted by her high school friend Barbra Walters a year before. Her producer husband passed away on January 4, 2007 at age 84 due to complications of pneumonia. Judy and Steve had two sons, Nicholas and Tony. She was the sister-in-law of actress Shari Lewis (born in 1933, died in 1998), who married her brother, Jeremy.
After college, Judith Krantz spent a year in Paris working in fashion public relations before launching a career in magazine journalism in New York City. In NYC, she joined the fiction department at Good Housekeeping and then was promoted to fashion editor. In the meantime, she also found time writing some articles for the magazine. After getting married and having her first son, in 1957, she decided to quit her full-time job in favor of working part-time from home. As a freelancer, she penned many articles for such publications as McCleans, Ladies' Home Journal, McCalls and Cosmopolitan. One of her famed articles, “The Myth of the Multiple Orgasm,” appeared in Cosmopolitan. Through her magazine career, Krantz had a chance to interview numerous women about their lives and got better understanding about other women, an experience that was highly useful for her later career.
In 1976, Krantz's husband determined to take flying lessons. Despite her deadly fear of flying, she opted to follow in the footstep of her husband and joined him in the lessons. After throwing out that fiend, she decided to fight her other fears. For the first time since college, she tried to write fiction, an attempt she made to prove to her husband that she was not a good fiction writer because her husband had been verifying for years that she was a natural story teller. The resultant, “Scruples,” was done in nine months and published in 1978 under the copyright of Steve Krantz Productions. A masterpiece, the first novel peaked at No. 1 at the New York Times bestseller list.
Encouraged by its success, Krantz wrote a second book called “Princess Daisy,” which was released in 1980. Like its predecessor, it was also a No. 1 hit at the New York Times, and gained her an amazing $5 million before its publication. The paperback rights sold for $3.2 million, which was considered a record at the era. She followed it up by releasing “Mistral's Daughter” in 1982 and “I'll Take Manhattan” in 1986, both of which were also No. 1 bestsellers. “Till We Meet Again” hit the book stores in 1988. By the end of the 1980s, all of Krantz' books had been developed into TV miniseries with her husband serving as executive producer for “Princess Daisy” (1983), “Mistral's Daughter” (1984) and “Till We Meet Again” (1989).
Krantz published “Dazzle” in 1990, which was transformed into a 181-minute long TV drama starring Lisa Hartman and Cliff Robertson and executive produced by her husband in 1995. She next released “Scruples Two” (1992), “Lovers” (1994), “Spring Collection” (1996) and “The Jewels of Tessa Kent” (1998). In addition to novels, Krantz also lend her writing talents for the 1992 TV series “Secrets” and published a memoir called “Sex and Shopping: The Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl.”