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Peter Benchley

novelist
Born: 5/8/1940
Birthplace: New York City

The son of novelist Nathaniel Goddard Benchley and the grandson of humorist Robert Benchley, Peter Benchley knew early in life that he wanted to write, but finding the appropriate forum for his writing took him a bit longer. He worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, as television critic for Newsweek, and as a speechwriter for President Johnson during the last two years of his administration. Benchley's first novel Jaws (1974), spent more than forty weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list, earning him praise as the most successful first novelist in history, and was the source for the popular 1975 film, directed by the young Steven Spielberg. Among Benchley's other novels are The Deep (1976), Beast (1991), and White Shark (1994).

Died: Princeton, N.J., 2/12/2006

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