Patricia Bosworth

Award-winning Journalist, Best-selling Biographer, Vanity Fair Contributing Editor

Patricia Bosworth, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair for over two decades, is an award-winning journalist and best-selling biographer and memoirist. She was awarded the Front Page Award and was a Senior Fellow in Columbia’s National Arts Journalism Program, where she received a grant to research her most recent book, Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman, a New York Times best seller. Bosworth is a sought-after keynote speaker on the subjects of her books, the art and craft of biography, the infamous Hollywood Ten hearings, and how to cope as a suicide survivor. She is an ideal lecturer for universities, historical societies, libraries, museums, women’s clubs, and suicide prevention/survival groups.

Bosworth made her debut as a biographer with her best-selling book Montgomery Clift: A Life. She has also written biographies of Marlon Brando and photographer Diane Arbus, as well as a memoir, Anything Your Little Heart Desires: An American Family Story, which deals with the suicides of her father and brother, as well as her father’s role defending the Hollywood Ten during their hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Her Diane Arbus was later adapted into the film Fur, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.

Bosworth is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a longtime board member of the Actors Studio, where she runs the Playwright/Directors Unit. As an actress she appeared on television and in Broadway plays such as Inherit the Wind, The Sin of Pat Muldoon, and Howie. After understudying Barbara Bel Geddes, Bosworth took over the title role in Jean Kerr’s hit comedy Mary, Mary for the last year of its run. She was also featured as Audrey Hepburn’s best friend in the movie The Nun’s Story.

In the mid-1960s Bosworth transitioned from acting to journalism, writing frequently for New York Magazine and the New York Times on arts and culture, as well as The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, and Esquire. She served as features editor of McCall’s and managing editor of Harper’s Bazaar, before joining Vanity Fair.

Bosworth has taught literary nonfiction at Columbia University and Barnard College, and currently co-chairs the Biography Seminar at New York University. She is at work on a second memoir, The Men in My Life, which picks up where Anything Your Little Heart Desires left off and chronicles her young adulthood and her years as an actress. Bosworth lives in New York City.

Praise for Jane Fonda

“Watching Jane Fonda wrestle with her many passions has been one of the most fascinating stories of the past 50 years. Brilliant, beautiful, achingly vulnerable, self-wounding and yet with a Joan of Arc sense of self-determination whenever she steps into the spotlight. Fonda is one of the greatest film stars to ever appear on the screen. Her life deserves to be re-evaluated as it is in Patricia Bosworth’s Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman.

—   Alec Baldwin

“Patricia Bosworth has written an irresistible biography of the accomplished controversial actress whose roles on screen and off helped define a generation. Whether you love Jane Fonda or abhor her, the Private Life ofa Public Woman is a detailed and generous exploration not only of the contradictory world Fonda grew up in but of the many people who shaped her.”

—   Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of The Glass Castle

“Jane Fonda was born with beauty and talent, which brought her fame and wealth. Now she’s blessed with a biographer who knows Hollywood and understands the human condition. Nothing about Fonda’s life (her obsession with her looks, her lovers – male and female – her husbands, her money, and her elusive father) escapes the keen eye of Patricia Bosworth, who tells the life story of a cinema icon, one of the most intriguing women of our era. You will be enthralled from start to finish.”

—Kitty Kelley, legendary biographer

“Bosworth’s expedition into every corner of Fonda’s life makes for far more than a spellbinding biography. It sweeps the reader into a cultural history of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, when this female icon helped define the causes of the era. The access gained by Bosworth is impressive – lovers, stepmothers, and ex-husbands share their secrets, adding to what will certainly become the definitive portrait of a woman conflicted, torn between ferocious ambition, family, and feminist causes. Bosworth’s rendering of Fonda’s interior chaos becomes a revealing probe into the female psyche.”

—Gail Sheehy, author of Passages

“Patricia Bosworth’s brilliant detective work has unearthed so much about Jane Fonda that I didn’t know – so much feeling, so much courage, so much hurt. Reading this book, it occurred to me that Fonda, despite her brilliant acting, despite her activism, despite her life led in the headlines, was really the archetypal woman of her generation: a woman torn between love and work, family and accomplishment. Bosworth’s book is far from another Hollywood biography; it is a human portrait and, at the same time, a major American life. Reading this book, living Jane’s life along with her, is an adventure and a pleasure.”

—William Mann, author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn and How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood