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Maurice Zolotow Edit Profile

journalist , writer

Maurice Zolotow, American writer. Member American Society Journalists and Authors (founder, 1st president, 1949), Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association.


Zolotow, Maurice was born on November 23, 1913 in New York City. Son of Harry and Pauline (Edelstein) Zolotow.


Zolotow attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he met his future wife, Charlotte Shapiro.


He wrote books and magazine articles. His articles appeared in publications including Life, Collier's Weekly, Reader's Digest, Look, Los Angeles, and many others. His book Marilyn Monroe was the first written on the iconic actress and the only one published during her lifetime.

In 1936, after graduation, Zolotow took a job at Billboard, then a publication covering not just the music business, but all aspects of show business. Zolotow was an early jazz lover and gave Duke Ellington his first national review. Zolotow remained devoted to pop culture, literature (one of his closest friends was poet Delmore Schwartz), politics, and magic.

As a child, Zolotow recalled seeing Harry Houdini perform at Coney Island and based his novel, The Great Balsamo, on the famous magician. In later life, Zolotow befriended contemporary magician Ricky Jay. He also wrote shorter celebrity profiles on such entertainers as Tallulah Bankhead, Walter Matthau, Grace Kelly, and Milton Berle.

A collection of Zolotow's profiles was published in 1951 as No People Like Show People, including pieces on Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Oscar Levant, Frank Fay, Fred Allen, Ethel Merman, Jed Harris, as well as Bankhead and Berle. Zolotow also wrote occasionally on food and alcohol, including several articles on the latter for Playboy. His 1971 piece on absinthe has been widely reprinted.

His book, Confessions of a Race Track Fiend, describes Zolotow's own experiences playing the horses at Southern California tracks. He lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, for much of his adult life, but moved to Los Angeles, California, after his divorce. He had two children, poker enthusiast Steve Zolotow and author Crescent Dragonwagon.



Strangely enough, one of Zolotow's first books, published only in London in 1948, was about Dr. Maurice William, a Russian-born New York dentist and former Socialist, whose 1920 critique of Marxist economics had supposedly influenced Chinese statesman Sun Yat-sen, shortly before his death, to rethink his earlier sympathy for Communism.


Member American Society Journalists and Authors (founder, 1st president, 1949), Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists association.


Married Charlotte Shapiro, April 14, 1938 (divorced 1969). Children: Stephen, Ellen (Crescent Dragonwagon).

Harry Zolotow

Pauline (Edelstein) Zolotow

Charlotte Shapiro

Stephen Zolotow

Ellen Zolotow (Crescent Dragonwagon)