James Alan Polster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Alan Polster
James Polster.jpg
Born Polster, James Alan
(1947-09-14)September 14, 1947
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died December 15, 2012(2012-12-15) (aged 65)[citation needed]
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Occupation Novelist, Movie Producer, Screenwriter, Explorer and Journalist

James Alan Polster (September 14, 1947 – December 15, 2012) was an American novelist, movie producer, screenwriter, explorer, and journalist.


Born James Alan Polster to Harold and Ethel Polster in Cleveland, Ohio. Polster grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and is a member of the Shaker Heights Alumni Association Hall of Fame.[1] After graduation from Tulane University (B.S.) in 1969, Polster hopped a freighter for Spain and eventually settled in Tangiers. He returned to the United States to attend graduate school. He graduated from Columbia University (M.A.) in 1973. He received a second graduate degree from Harvard University (Ed.M.) in 1982. Beginning in 1973, Polster explored the Amazon Rainforest on several trips,[2] spent time in the jungles of Irian Jaya with cannibals in 1989,[3] and both covered and played in the World Championships of Elephant polo for Sports Illustrated in Nepal in 1991.[4] Polster is a National Fellow of the Explorers Club.[5]


Polster has worked as novelist, movie producer, screenwriter, explorer and journalist.

His first novel, A Guest in the Jungle, focused a spotlight on the disappearing rainforest and the people who live there,[6][7] and helped to kickstart the rainforest environmental movement.[8] His exploits and adventures have been the subject of numerous media profiles.[9]

His second novel, Brown, was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of the Year,[10] and was awarded The Critics’ Choice Award 1995-96.[11] Brown is slated to be made into a feature film.[12]

His third novel, THE GRADUATE STUDENT, was released in August 2009 as a digital eBook by Stay Thirsty Press.

Polster’s books have been reviewed by The New York Times, [13] Publishers Weekly,[14]Kirkus Reviews, [15]L.A. Daily News,[16] San Francisco Examiner,[17]Cleveland Plain Dealer,,[18] San Mateo Times,[19] Armchair Detective,[20] and Library Journal.[21]

As a movie producer,[22] Polster was an in-house producer for Columbia Pictures and produced five movies for Columbia Pictures Television and NBC starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers:

  • Hart to Hart: Secrets of the Hart (1995)
  • Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die (1994)
  • Hart to Hart: Crimes of the Hart (1994)
  • Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is (1994)
  • Hart to Hart Returns (1993)

As a screenwriter,[22] he is credited with two television productions:

  • World Without Walls (1988)
  • "Hunter" (1 episode, 1986) - 62 Hours of Terror (1986) TV episode (story)

As an explorer, “Polster was one of the first outsiders to contact and gain acceptance from the Motilone Indians of Columbia/Venezuela, the Cofans and Quechua of Ecuador, and other peoples along the Amazon.[23]

As a journalist, Polster has written for publications including Sports Illustrated,[4]The Los Angeles Times,[3]TRUMP Magazine, [24] and Yahoo.com.[25] He has covered such diverse subjects as: Indira Gandhi in New Delhi;[26] Cannibals in New Guinea;[3] Sugar Ray Leonard in the Duran/Leonard Superfight in New Orleans;[27] Police strike;[28] Potential of Geothermal Energy;[29] Oil vs. Environmentalists in the Louisiana Bayous;[30] BB-War Gamesters;[31] and BB Swashbucklers [32]


  • A Guest in the Jungle - Mercury House, 1987
  • Brown - Longstreet Press, 1995
  • THE GRADUATE STUDENT - Stay Thirsty Press, 2009

Short fiction[edit]

  • At the Beach, New Orleans Review, 1980
  • PWC, SMOKE MAGAZINE, Spring, Issue 2 Vol 1 page 168, 1996

Awards and honors[edit]

  • New Orleans Press Club Award for Feature Photo in 1980 for Cambodian Refugee Camps 1979 (UPI)
  • First Place - New Orleans Press Club Award (Best Column) for a Three-Part Series on Duran/Leonard Superfight, 1981[27]
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival - Judge 1981
  • First Place, “A” Stock Hydroplane Championship of Maine[33]
  • California (Marin) Art Council Grant 1987
  • MacDowell Fellowship 1989[34]
  • Wurlitzer Foundation Grant 1989
  • The Critics’ Choice Award 1995-96 [11]
  • Tennessee Williams Festival 1995 - Guest Speaker
  • William Faulkner Festival 2001 and 2002 - Guest Speaker
  • Who’s Who in America [35]


  1. ^ http://www.shaker.org/alumni/halloffame/members.htm
  2. ^ “Going back 20,000 years in the jungle,” San Francisco Examiner, by Burr Snider, April 26, 1988
  3. ^ a b c http://articles.latimes.com/1990-04-29/travel/tr-25_1_irian-jaya
  4. ^ a b http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1140153/index.htm
  5. ^ Explorers Club Yearbook 2008, Part VIII: Membership Roster, page 268 Polster, James, FN '99
  6. ^ “Review: A Guest in the Jungle” by Bebeck McGhee, Earth First/World Rainforest Report, Vol. VIII, No. 11, November 1, 1987
  7. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1987-11-29/books/bk-25159_1_jungle-town
  8. ^ “Polster's fiction blends adventure and humor with a social and ethical perspective on Indian rights.” Bookline, August 27, 1987 by Lisa K. Buchanan, Guest Editor
  9. ^ 'You’ll Never Get Out Alive' – But He Did, The Times-Picayune, by Jennifer Quale, June 18, 1976; Ex-Shakerite James Polster turns novelist in Amazon, Cleveland Plain Dealer 09 Dec, 1987, pg. 08 sec. E; NPR- Morning Edition, Houston, with Maryann Young, 10/21/87; WTKN- Pittsburgh, with Scott Cassidy, 11/5/87; ABC TV- Cleveland- Morning Exchange- Nov. 1, 1987; KGIL- Los Angeles- Oct. 13, 1987; KPFA- Berkeley- with Denny Smithson - Aug. 3, 1995
  10. ^ PW’s Best Books 95, Publishers Weekly, November 6, 1995, p. 58
  11. ^ a b http://www2.state.lib.la.us/writersdirectory/index.php?disp=onea&id=127
  12. ^ Polster, ‘Brown’ stroll Avenue, The Hollywood Reporter, by Cathy Dunkley, March 6, 1996, p. 20
  13. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1995/09/03/books/crime-057395.html?pagewanted=all)
  14. ^ Publishers Weekly, April 3, 1995 (Brown)
  15. ^ Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1995 (Brown)
  16. ^ “Frightening, funny ‘Jungle out there,’” L.A. Daily News by Bruce Cook, December 27, 1987
  17. ^ Book Review, San Francisco Examiner, August 6, 1997, p. 8
  18. ^ “Ex-Shakerite James Polster turns novelist in Amazon,” Cleveland Plain Dealer 09 Dec, 1987, pg. 08 sec. E
  19. ^ “A riotous romp in the Amazon Jungle,” San Mateo Times, by Jack Russell, October 7, 1987
  20. ^ Review by Donald H. Buck, Armchair Detective Quarterly, Winter, 1996 (Brown)
  21. ^ Library Journal, Books of Choice by Dan Bogey (Brown), November 1, 1995, p. 136
  22. ^ a b http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0689861/
  23. ^ "...Polster became the first outsider to live in the Djuka (also Aucaaner) village of Loabi on the Tapanahony River.” African Arts Magazine, April 1977, p. 74
  24. ^ “Lights,Camera, Trump,” TRUMP MAGAZINE, Winter, 2006
  25. ^ Mystery of the Martyr's Tomb," https://news.yahoo.com/s/rba_daily/20060515/rba_daily/rba_daily4336
  26. ^ Letter From India- Interview with Indira on Election Eve by Jim Polster, The Figaro, New Orleans, Dec. 10, 1979
  27. ^ a b Three-Part Series on the Duran/Leonard Superfight by James Polster, The Figaro, November 17, 24, December 1, 1980
  28. ^ “Mardi Gras ’79: An Uncarnival,” by James Polster, The Figaro, March 5, 1979
  29. ^ “Underground Louisiana,” by James Polster, New Orleans Magazine, September 1977
  30. ^ “Is Getty Oil The Real Honey Island Swamp Monster? Beneath the Bog” by James Polster, The Figaro, April 23, 1979
  31. ^ “BB-War Gamesters Shoot for Sport,” Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 20, 1979, page A1
  32. ^ “BB Swashbucklers Take on Tom Snyder,” Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 21, 1979 page A1
  33. ^ “Powerboating, Stock Outboard at Rockland, Maine,” Boston Globe, June 22, 1982, p. 37
  34. ^ http://www.macdowellcolony.org/artists-indexfellows.php
  35. ^ The Who’s Who in America, 63rd Edition, 2009, p. 3942

External links[edit]