Terry Southern's picture

Terry Southern


USA flag (1924 - 1995)

Terry Southern was a highly influential American short story writer, novelist, essayist, screenwriter and university lecturer noted for his distinctive satirical style. He was part of the Paris postwar literary movement in the 1950s and a companion to Beat writers in Greenwich Village; he was at the center of Swinging London in the sixties and helped to change the style and substance of Hollywood films of the 1970s. In the 1980s he wrote for Saturday Night Live and lectured on screenwriting at several universities in New York.

Southern's dark and often absurdist style of broad yet biting satire helped to define the sensibilities of several generations of intelligent writers, readers, directors and film goers. He is credited by journalist Tom Wolfe as having invented New Journalism with the publication of "Twirling at Ole Miss" in Esquire in 1962, and his gift for writing memorable film dialogue was evident in Dr. Strangelove, The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid and Easy Rider. His work on Easy Rider helped create the independent film movement of the 1970s, in opposition to Hollywood film studios.