Eleanor Bergstein

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Eleanor Bergstein (born 1938) is an American writer, known for writing and co-producing the popular 1980s film Dirty Dancing, which was based in large part on her own childhood.

Life and career[edit]

Bergstein was born in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. She has one older sister, Frances. Their father, Joseph,[1] 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 teenage 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.



  1. ^ 1940 United States Federal Census