Berendt, John Lawrence was born on December 5, 1939 in Syracuse, New York, United States. Son of Ralph Sidney and Carol (Deschere) B. Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University, 1961. Association editor Esquire Magazine, New York City, 1961-1969.
Senior staff editor Holiday Magazine, New York City, 1969. Associate producer David Frost Show, New York City, 1969-1971. Writer Dick Cavett Show, New York City, 1973-1975.
Editor New York Magazine, New York City, 1977-1979. Columnist Esquire Magazine, New York City, 1982-1994.
As an English major at Harvard University, he worked on the staff of the Harvard Lampoon. He was an associate editor of Esquire from 1961 to 1969, editor of New York magazine from 1977 to 1979 and a columnist for Esquire from 1982 to 1994. Berendt published Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in 1994 and became an overnight success.
The book spent a record-breaking 216 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list -— still, to this day, the longest standing best seller of the Times. The story, unsettling and real, broke down the idea of the quintessential phenomenon of a true American city—only to reveal its quirks: its man walking an invisible dog. Its voice of the drag queen.
A high-society man in its elite community—all that somehow, unravels a murder mystery. Virtually seeming like a novel and reading like a tale, the non-fictional story is about the real-life events surrounding the murder trial of Jim Williams in Savannah, Georgia. Berendt has since acknowledged that he fabricated some scenes and changed the sequence of some events.
Midnight was adapted into a 1997 film, directed by Clint Eastwood, receiving mixed reviews. John Cusack plays a character loosely based on Berendt. Berendt's second book, The City of Falling Angels, was published in September 2005.
It chronicles interwoven lives in Venice in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the La Fenice opera house. According to Kirkus Reviews, "Berendt does great justice to an exalted city that has rightly fascinated the likes of Henry James, Robert Browning, and many filmmakers throughout the world." (August 1, 2005) Esquire, Inc.
Board directors Theater for a New Audience. Member Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association, Century Association.