Robert Harling (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the American writer. For the UK typographer and writer (1910-2008), see Robert Harling (typographer). For the 15th-century knight, see Robert Harling.
Robert Harling
Born 1951
Dothan, Alabama
Years active 1989–present

Robert Harling (born in 1951) is an American writer, producer and film director.


Early life[edit]

He was born in 1951 in Dothan, Alabama.[1][2][3] He graduated from Northwestern State University in his hometown and obtained a law degree from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.[2][3][4] While in law school, he sang in a band which performed in New Orleans on weekends.[3]


He moved to New York City in 1978 and worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken and sold tickets on Broadway to support himself.[2][3] He auditioned for acting jobs and shot television commercials about flashlights.[2][3]

After the death of his younger sister, Susan, due to diabetes, he wrote a short story and adapted it into a play, Steel Magnolias, which is still played worldwide to this day.[2][3][4][5][6] It has been translated in seventeen languages, including Japanese, Chinese, French, Swedish, Spanish, Italian.[3] Shortly after, he went on to adapt the screenplay for the film version of the play that was produced in 1989 starring Sally Field and Julia Roberts.[7][8][9][10] He played a small role in the film as a minister.[7]

He went on to write more screenplays, Soapdish (1991), The First Wives Club (1996), and Laws of Attraction (2004), as well as an uncredited script doctor on a number of films. More recently he served as writer and producer of the TV show GCB which ran briefly on ABC-TV.[7][4][10] He also wrote and directed the sequel to Terms of Endearment titled The Evening Star (1996).[7][4][11]

He is currently adapting Soapdish into a musical.[4][12]

Personal life[edit]

He is Presbyterian[12] He owns the Oaklawn Plantation in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[13][14]






  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e Kim Hubbard, Robert Harling, Author of a Hit Comedy Based on a Family Tragedy, People, Vol. 29, No. 3, January 25, 1988
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Julia Reed, The Interview: Robert Harling, Garden & Gun, December 2012 – January 2013
  4. ^ a b c d e Brooks Barnes, Sweet Tea and Tart Women, The New York Times, February 29, 2012
  5. ^ Anne McCracken, Mary Semel, A broken heart still beats: after your child dies, Hazelden Publishing, 2000, p. 87 [2]
  6. ^ Jeremy Kinser, Steel Magnolias Back In Bloom, The Advocate, October 25, 2012
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p imdb
  8. ^ Karen Hollinger, In the company of women: contemporary female friendship films, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1998, p. 75 [3]
  9. ^ Tara McPherson, Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender, and Nostalgia in the Imagined South, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2003, p. 159 [4]
  10. ^ a b Tanner Transky, Robert Harling: The Man Who Loves Women, Entertainment Weekly, April 13, 2012
  11. ^ Peter C. Rollins, The Columbia companion to American history on film, New York City: Columbia University Press, 2007 p. 494 [5]
  12. ^ a b Lisa Rosen, Robert Harling, Darren Star breathe life into 'GCB', The Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2012
  13. ^ Natchitoches, Arcadia Publishing, 2003, p. 44
  14. ^ National Park Service: Oaklawn Plantation