Terry Southern (1924-1995) began writing satiric, outrageous fiction at the age of 12, when he rewrote Edgar Allen Poe stories "because they didn't go far enough". After serving in the Army as a Lieutenant in World War II, he wrote short stories while studying at the Sorbonne. "The Accident," published in the premier issue of The Paris Review, was the first short story to appear in that magazine. According to PeterMatheissen, "The Sun and the Stillborn Stars," also by Terry, determined the course of The Paris Review as a venue for short fiction. He admired and befriended British novelist Henry Green, who convinced Andre Deutch to publish his first novel, Flash and Filigree (1958). Residing with his first wife Carol in Geneva, he spent days conjuring surrealistic exploits for trillionaire trickster "Grand Guy Guy Grand" in The Magic Christian (1958) while at the same time writing Candy (1960) for Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press. He and Gregory Corso presented Naked Lunch to Girodias, convincing him to publish it. Terry published numerous short stories in England, France and America, (anthologized in Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes), and co-edited Writers in Revolt ; an Anthology of the Most Controversial Writing in the World Today:(1962) with Alex Trocci and Richard Seaver.

After settling in an old farmhouse in East Canaan, Connecticut, Stanley Kubrick, after meeting him during an interview Terry conducted for Esquire, and upon the recommedation of Peter Sellers of the comic wit found in Magic Christian,, invited him to employ a satirical touch to Dr. Strangelove (1964). A rewarding period in Hollywood followed, including writing dialog for the films: The Loved One (1965), The Collector, Cincinatti Kid (1966), Casino Royale and Barbarella (1967). Terry helped launch the Independent film movement by co-authoring Easy Rider (1968), and writing/co-producing with his old Paris/Greenwich Village hipster soulmate Aram AvakianThe End Of The Road (1970), filmed entirely on-location in the Berkshires with Actors Studio cast and a non-Union crew (including James Earl Jones, Stacey Keach and Gordon Willis). After the quiet publication of Blue Movie (1970), he turned to screenwriting full-time, working on original scripts, adaptations, and speculative assignments throughout the 70s and 80s.

During this difficult period, when films and "quality-lit" (a phrase he coined) moved from character-driven stories to action-packed blockbuster, the IRS repeatedly attempted to reclaim over $150,000 in unpaid taxes from the mid-sixties. He was hired in the early-eighties by Michael O'Donohough to write for Saturday Night Live, and wrote The Telephone (1986) with singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. With legitimate film work increasingly elusive, Terry taught Screenwriting at both NYU and Columbia University from the late 80s until his death in 1995. His last novel, Texas Summer, was released by Richard Seaver in 1992. His novels; The Magic Christian, Flash and Filigree, Blue Movie and Candy are available through Grove Atlantic. A new collection, Now Dig This; The Unspeakable Writings of Terry Southern 1950-1995 was released by Grove in 2001, as was Terry’s biography by Lee Hill: A Grand Guy, the Art and Life of Terry Southern (published by Harper Collins).

Nile Southern, Executor; photo by Steve Shapiro Los Angeles, 1965


1958 – Flash and Filigree

1958 – Candy

1960 – The Magic Christian

1960 – Writers in Revolt

1965 – Journal of The Loved One (with William Claxton)

1967 – Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes

1970 – Blue Movie

1992 – Texas Summer


1964 – Dr. Strangelove (with Stanley Kubrick and Peter George)

1965 – The Loved One (with Christopher Isherwood)

1965 – The Collector (rewrite; uncredited)

1966 – The Cincinatti Kid (rewrite)

1967 – Barbarella

1968 – Easy Rider

1969 – End Of The Road

1970 – The Magic Christian

1975 – Stop Thief! (teleplay; with William Claxton)

1986 – The Telephone (with Harry Nilsson)

Appearances on film:

The Man Who Fell to Earth (journalist at launchpad), Burroughs (in orgone box wi/ WSB).

More biography and photos available