Gardner Botsford was born on 7th of July, 1917 in New York City, New York, United States into a family of great privilege. His mother was "an international heartbreaker", and father, Alfred Miller Botsford, was a journalist and eventually worked in the advertising department for the Famous Players-Lasky movie company.
Mr. Botsford's parents divorced, and his mother remarried Raoul Fleischmann, whose family had bankrolled The New Yorker and with whom Mr. Botsford spent much of his childhood. There were eight servants for a family of five at their New York townhouse, and summers were spent in France and on Long Island. He grew up surrounded by writers and actors.