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Jack Engelhard (born July 20, 1940) is an American novelist and journalist. His masterpiece, to date, is the international bestselling novel, “Indecent Proposal,” which has been translated into more than 28 different languages and was later adapted into a movie starring Demi Moore and Robert Redford. For this and his other works, he has been deemed a worldwide master of moral dilemmas.
Each one of Engelhard’s books reflects a particular period in Engelhard’s life: The memoir “Escape from Mount Moriah” is a bitter-sweet recollection of making it as a kid in Montreal, after landing there from France and the Holocaust. “Indecent Proposal” is a breakthrough work of the imagination that became a worldwide literary sensation, and later a blockbuster movie under the same title.
The historical novel “The Days of the Bitter End” is totally USA, Greenwich Village, the counterrevolution during the turbulent 1960s; In “The Girls of Cincinnati” (his first and still his favorite) it’s a frustrated actor in a dead-end job, but pursued by women, including one terribly dangerous.
“Slot Attendant” finds the hero in the world of writing, publishing and casinos, and always on the verge of making a comeback. “The Horsemen” is a true to life account of the thoroughbred backstretch.
In “The Bathsheba Deadline,” modelled after the biblical David and Bathsheba and Uriah love-triangle, the author takes up the world of journalism, for better or worse.
“News Anchor Sweetheart” imagines what it must be like to be the husband, a failure, married to the queen of television news, modelled after Megyn Kelly.
All of his works are in print through CCB Publishing or DayRay Literary Press, and available through Amazon.
Engelhard’s writing is known for its “light touch.” Of his approach, he says, “Write your heart out, then cut it in half, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Of his writing “Indecent Proposal,” Barbara Raskin in “The New York Times” cited his prose as “Precise, almost clinical language.”
His books and columns are often quotable, among them, “Consider; when you have a book in your hands, you have the writer’s life in your hands.”
Jack Engelhard was born on July 20, 1940 in Toulouse, France. When Jack was an infant, his family (Father Noah, Mother Ida, and Sister Sarah) fled from France, when Hitler invaded. They escaped Toulouse, France through the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain, then to Portugal, and finally achieved passage to the west on the S.S. Serpa Pinto, which carried thousands of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust to safety. Jack’s father, Noah, is said to have saved countless lives by helping them escape the Nazi invasion. Jack’s family arrived in Montreal in the early 1940’s and remained there until the late 1950’s when later they made their home in the United States.
Engelhard served as an American volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces. He holds an advanced belt in Israeli martial arts, Krav Maga. On the way to his writing career, Engelhard worked numerous jobs that “had everything to do with sweating but not writing.” His career as a writer took off after a stint in Greenwich Village where, in the 1960s, he worked as a doorman at the famous night spot, the Bitter End Café on Bleecker Street. That led to the creation of his novel, “The Days of the Bitter End.” Plus, the other works, including three plays.
His career as a journalist began in Southern New Jersey, where he served as a reporter/columnist for the Burlington County Times. Success there drew him to the Philadelphia Inquirer where, for several decades, he wrote a twice-weekly column for the paper’s Op-ed section. Following that, he became news editor at KYW News Radio in Philadelphia. His journalism has appeared in major publications, including the New York Times. One of his columns at The Times “The Company Man,” received among the highest readership ratings ever reported for that newspaper.
Today, Jack currently writes columns for Arutz Sheva “israelnationalnews.com”.
Engelhard’s best-known novel, “Indecent Proposal,” was released in 1988. The plot centers around a married couple (Josh and Joan Kane) who try their luck at an Atlantic City casino on Josh’s desire to hit the jackpot. The novel was praised for its strong writing and unique moral dilemma, and became an immediate worldwide bestseller.
The most famous quote from the novel runs as follows: “Sex is nothing. Temptation is everything.”
Similarly edgy and rife with intrigue is his fact-based inside-the-newsroom novel, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” themed from the Bible but, according to reviewers, “prophetically current.” According to author Robert Spencer, “It’s a rousing thriller…an insightful, courageous, look inside the headlines.”
Engelhard’s most recent novel, News Anchor Sweetheart, centers on a rising television news star, Marjorie Carmen, and the relationship she has with her husband and struggling writer, Rick. As she rises to the top of media stardom, and Rick’s writing career stalls, he ponders over what he can do to prove to Marjorie that he’s still worth keeping. His choice of action ends up having unintended, yet interesting, results that could change the dynamics of his teetering marriage.
- The Horsemen (1974)
- Indecent Proposal (1988)
- The Prince of Dice (1997)
- The Days of the Bitter End (1998)
- Escape from Mount Moriah (2001)
- The Bathsheba Deadline (2007)
- Slot Attendant (2009)
- The Girls of Cincinnati (2009)
- Compulsive (2013)
- News Anchor Sweetheart (2016)
- First Prize for reporting under pressure of a deadline –1977—Society of Professional Journalists; Sigma Delta Chi
- Award for deadline reporting for coverage of Garden State Racetrack fire, 1978, Associated Press, Pa.
- Ben Hecht Award for literary excellence – 2015 – ZOA, Zionist Organization of America
- CANNES Award for film adaptation of “My Father Joe” (adapted from the memoir “Escape from Mount Moriah.”)
In 1993, Indecent Proposal was released as a movie by Paramount Pictures. The film was directed by Adrian Lyne and starred Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson. Despite a critical reception at the time of release, the film was a box office success grossing over $106,500,000 in the U.S., and $160,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of more than $266,000,000.
A musical adaptation of Indecent Proposal is in the works through London.
Paramount has also announced that a remake of the film is currently in development, with Erin Cressida Wilson as the screenplay writer.
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