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Corman is the author of the novels Oh, God! (1971), the basis for the 1977 film; The Bust-Out King (1977); Kramer vs. Kramer (1977), which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning 1979 film of the same name; The Old Neighborhood (1980); 50 (1987); Prized Possessions (1991); The Big Hype (1992); A Perfect Divorce (2004); and The Boyfriend from Hell (2006). And he is the author of a memoir, My Old Neighborhood Remembered (2014).
Critic Stefan Kanfer said in Time magazine about Corman's novel, 50, "Avery Corman has a literary gift for dialogue and predicament. Sealed in a time capsule, 50 could tell future generations more about contemporary middle-aged mores than a library of sociological theses." The combination of the novel, Kramer vs. Kramer and the film changed the attitude of the public and the courts about divorce and custody in the United States and internationally. Greg Ferrara, writing on the TCM, Turner Classic Movies, web site, said in referring to the novel, "His story would explode accepted views on custody and parenting." Referring to the film, he said, "Kramer vs. Kramer didn't just set box office records for family drama, it changed the very way people thought about divorce, family and child custody."
He turned his attention to writing for the stage and collaborated with the composer Cy Coleman on a musical, The Great Ostrovsky, for which Corman wrote the book and also co-wrote the lyrics with Coleman. It was produced in regional theater in Philadelphia in 2004, a project curtailed with the death of Coleman that year. After seeing a 2010 stage adaptation of Kramer vs. Kramer in Paris written by Didier Caron and Stephane Boutet, Corman wrote his own Kramer vs. Kramer play based on his novel. The stage adaptation of Kramer vs. Kramer by Corman was produced in Greece, Hungary, Italy, and the Netherlands in 2012.
Corman is a graduate of the New York City public schools; he attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, New York University (1956) and worked in magazine publishing before becoming a freelance writer of educational films and humor articles. He then wrote his first novel.
A gift by Corman to the City of New York of a restored basketball court in his childhood schoolyard became the catalyst for the creation of the City Parks Foundation. Established in 1989, the foundation has become a multimillon dollar nonprofit creating and funding parks programs throughout New York City, and Corman has served on its board of directors since the foundation's inception.
He was married for thirty seven years to Judy Corman, who died in 2004. At the time of her death she was Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications and Media Relations at Scholastic, Inc. Judy Corman masterminded the publicity for the launch and subsequent publications of the Harry Potter books in the United States. She was a 2001 winner of a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications. The Cormans' two children are Matthew, a screenwriter, and Nicholas, who works in business development in Silicon Valley.
- Oh, God! (1971)
- The Bust-Out King (1977)
- Kramer vs. Kramer (1977)
- The Old Neighborhood (1980)
- 50 (1987)
- Prized Possessions (1992)
- The Big Hype (1992)
- A Perfect Divorce (2004)
- The Boyfriend from Hell (2006)
- The above novels all republished as ebooks by Open Road Media (2013)
- My Old Neighborhood Remembered (2014)
- Corman, Avery. "Modern Love: Moving Through Grief, Chair by Chair.", The New York Times. March 15, 2012.