Fun Facts Friday: Peter Benchley

May 12, 2017

Peter Benchley (8 May, 1940 – 11 February, 2006) was an American author and screenwriter, mostly known for his novel Jaws and subsequent screenplays adapting the story.

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Books by Peter Benchley*

1)      Mr. Benchley was the son of author Nathaniel Benchley and grandson of Algonquin Round Table founder Robert Benchley.

2)      After graduation from college, Mr. Benchley traveled around the world for a year, an experience which led to his first book, Time and a Ticket (1964), a travel memoir.

3)      Mr. Benchley was an speechwriter for Lyndon B. Johnson and an editor at Newsweek.

4)      The first novel Mr. Benchley wrote was Jaws – but it took more than ten years to write.

5)      The Doubleday editor who met with the author didn’t care for his idea of a non-fiction book about pirates, but loved the man eating shark terrorizing a community pitch. It is said that Mr. Benchley wrote a page in the Doubleday offices and immediately got an advance check.

6)      Frank Mundus, Montauk charterboat captain, who caught several great white sharks in  Long Island and Block Island inspired Jaws.

7)      The first draft of Jaws was… funny.

8)      The title Jaws was settled on minutes before the book was sent to production.

9)      A fan of the book was Cosmopolitan editor, Helen Gurley Brown, who gave a copy to her husband, film director David Brown, with a note saying “might make a good movie”.

10)   In his last years, Mr. Benchley was a devoted ocean conservationist.

Books by Peter Benchley*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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