A bestselling American novelist and screenwriter, he is known for work with historical, political, and sexual themes. His best-known work is the controversial 1964 novel, The Man.
He began selling stories to magazines when he was in his teens. He later co-wrote the screenplays of such popular Hollywood films as Meet Me at the Fair (1953) and The Big Circus (1959).
His works of non-fiction include The Square Pegs: Some Americans Who Dared to Be Different (1958) and The Fabulous Showman: The Life and Times of P.T. Barnum (1959).
He married the writer and editor, Sylvia Wallace. Together, they had two children.
He served in the military with Theodore Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss.