Sidney Sheldon, who won awards in three careers - Broadway theater, movies, television - then at age 50 turned to writing best-selling novels about stalwart women who triumph in a hostile world of ruthless men, has died. He was 89.
Sheldon died of complications from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, said Warren Cowan, his publicist of more than 25 years. His wife Alexandra and his daughter, author Mary Sheldon, were by his side.
"I've lost a longtime and dear friend," Cowan said. "In all my years in this business, I've never heard an unkind word said about him."
Sheldon's books, with titles such as "Rage of Angels," "The Other Side of Midnight," "Master of the Game" and "If Tomorrow Comes," provided his greatest fame. They were cleverly plotted with a high degree of suspense and sensuality and a device to keep the reader turning pages.
"I try to write my books so the reader can't put them down," he explained in a 1982 interview. "I try to construct them so when the reader gets to the end of a chapter, he or she has to read just one more chapter. It's the technique of the old Saturday afternoon serial: leave the guy hanging on the edge of the cliff at the end of the chapter."
Analyzing why so many women bought his books, he commented: "I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power - their femininity, because men can't do without it.