A.E. Hotchner may not be a name that is familiar to you, but this author, editor, biographer and playwright had a prolific career that spanned from the 1950’s until his death at the age of 102.
Hotchner grew up in St.Louis Missouri during the great depression; a time which he chronicled in his two memoirs King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles: A memoir about loving, which Kevin Sullivan adapted into a Disney movie, following the success of Anne of Green Gables.
Hotchner worked his way to a scholarship to Washington University and then joined the United States Air Force during World War II, an experience he wrote about in his book The Day I Fired Alan Ladd, and Other World War II Adventures.
He was perhaps best known as the author of close friend of Ernest Hemingway's biography, Papa Hemingway, as well as for his teleplay adaptations of Hemingway’s works The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Killers and The Fifth Column.
In the writing community, he was highly regarded: first as the editor of Cosmopolitan, and then for his plays like The White House and for his no holds bar articles about celebrities such as Roman Polanski.
He was also a philanthropist, starting the now well-known salad dressing company and charity Newman’s Own with actor Paul Newman. Hotchner’s idea was to donate all profits from the sales of its food products to the pair’s favorite charities. Hotchner and Newman also founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summer camp and year-round centre for Children who are seriously ill. This evolved into the Serious Fun Children’s Network.
In 1989, Sullivan Entertainment adapted his Memoir, Looking for Miracles: A Memoir about Loving into the film Looking for Miracles. This film starred Zachary Bennett and Greg Spottiswood from Sullivan’s series Road to Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables The Continuing Story. The film was Emmy-nominated, and Greg Spottiswood won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer.
Hotchner passed away on February 15th, 2020 at the age of 102. He continued to write through his late years, writing a detective novel entitled, The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom at the age of 100 and doing one last adaption of his close friend Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea for stage at the age of 101.