Bergstein was born in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. She has one older sister Frances. Their father was a Jewish doctor, leaving much of the care of the girls to their mother Sarah Bergstein. The family spent summers in the luxury resorts of the Catskill Mountains and while her parents were golfing Bergstein was dancing. She was a teenaged Mambo queen, competing in local "dirty dancing" competitions and during university she worked as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray dance studios.
In 1966 she was married to Michael Goldman and worked as a novelist with books such as Advancing Paul Newman. She also tried her hand at scriptwriting and had success with It's My Turn which became a film starring Michael Douglas and Jill Clayburgh. During production the producers cut an erotic dance scene out of the script, sparking Bergstein's idea to write a more extensive story focusing on the "dirty dancing" competitions of her youth.
In 2004 she also created the stage version of Dirty Dancing which opened in 2004 in Australia to sell-out performances.
- Dirty Dancing: The Musical, 2004 stage production
- Let it be me, 1995 film
- Ex-Lover: A Novel, 1989, ISBN 0-394-55306-3
- Dirty Dancing, 1987 film
- It's My Turn, 1980 screenplay
- Advancing Paul Newman, 1973 novel, ISBN 0-670-10518-X
- "Private Dancers", June 15, 2005, The Age
- Dirty Dancing, The E! True Hollywood Story, video documentary, first aired September 3, 2000
- "Dirty Dancing: Baby's Out of the Corner", May 2007, USA Today