Jane Stanton Hitchcock
Jane Stanton Hitchcock
Jane Johnston Crowley
November 24, 1946
|Other names||Jane Crowley Stanton|
|Alma mater||Sarah Lawrence College|
Jane Stanton Hitchcock (born November 24, 1946) is an American author, playwright, and screenwriter. She has written several plays but is known mostly for her mystery novels Mortal Friends, One Dangerous Lady, Social Crimes, The Witches' Hammer and Trick of the Eye. Hitchcock also wrote the screenplays for Our Time and First Love.
Hitchcock was born Jane Johnston Crowley on  to Robert Crowley, a surgeon, and Joan Crowley (known professionally as Joan Alexander), an actress known for playing Lois Lane on the radio serial The Adventures of Superman, and Della Street on the radio serial Perry Mason. Joan divorced Crowley and married Arthur Stanton, who adopted Jane when she was nine years old; at which time, Jane came to be known as Jane Crowley Stanton.November 24, 1946,
She attended The Brearley School, The Mary C. Wheeler School, and Sarah Lawrence College, graduating in 1968. In 1975, she married William Mellon Hitchcock, adopting his last name, by which she would hitherto be known as Jane Stanton Hitchcock.
Film and theatre
Hitchcock wrote a screenplay (under the name Jane C. Stanton) for the 1974 film Our Time, directed by Peter Hyams. The film was set in 1955 at an all-girls boarding school in Massachusetts and dealt with the issue of abortion in a privileged setting. In 1977, Paramount released First Love, a film written by Hitchcock who shared credit with David Freeman, and was directed by Joan Darling.
In 1981, The American Place Theatre produced Hitchcock's play Grace under the direction of Peter Thompson. The Off-Broadway play was Hitchcock's "first professional New York production." In 1983, another play by Hitchcock, a farce entitled Bhutan, was staged at the South Street Theater in Manhattan.
Hitchcock's theatrical adaptation titled The Custom of the Country, based on Edith Wharton's novel by the same name, was staged by Shakespeare & Company at The Mount, Wharton's former home in Lenox, Massachusetts. In September 1985, the play was staged by the Second Stage Theatre under the direction of Daniel Gerroll.
Vowing not to rely on the "aid of actors and a director," Hitchcock changed mediums from plays to novels. In 1992, she published her first novel Trick of the Eye which was received with what William Norwich, of The New York Times, described as positive reviews. In 1992, the book was nominated in the "Best First Novel" category for the Hammett Prize, as well as the Edgar Award. The murder mystery novel is narrated from the point of view of the protagonist Faith Crowell, an artist "who specializes in trompe l'oeil art" and is employed as a decorator to the rich. Crowell is hired to redecorate a ballroom originally designed for the coming-out party of her patron's daughter, who was murdered a few years after the debutante ball. The book was adapted into a television film aired by CBS on October 23, 1994.
Hitchcock published The Witches' Hammer in 1994. Her third novel Social Crimes was released in 2002. Social Crimes was the first of a two-book series introducing Jo Slater, a New York socialite who commits murder. According to Norwich, many readers of the same social circle, of which Hitchcock is also a member, had delighted in speculating that the character was in fact based on them. In The New York Times Book Review about Social Crimes, Sarah Haight remarked that "Hitchcock depicts the glamour and fickleness of the Slaters' upper-crust life with the witty weariness of a seasoned observer."
In June 2005, Hitchcock published the sequel to Social Crimes which was titled One Dangerous Lady. The author and journalist Dominick Dunne, a friend of Hitchcock's who received an early copy, writes in the April 2005 issue of Vanity Fair that he was amused by the resemblance he himself bears to the description of the murder victim in the novel, who is "bludgeoned to death."
At the end of June 2009, Hitchcock published Mortal Friends, a novel set in Washington D.C. As part of the promotions for the book, she was interviewed by Bob Schieffer on the CBS News show Washington Unplugged. Joanne Kaufman in The Wall Street Journal describes Mortal Friends as a "briskly entertaining".
Hitchcock is working on her sixth novel, Bluff, which reportedly is somehow connected to her new found passion for poker. She is an avid poker player and competes in the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
In 1991, Hitchcock divorced William Mellon Hitchcock and later married Jim Hoagland in 1995. Hoagland is a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. He was also a columnist and contributing editor at The Washington Post. They live in Washington, D.C. Hitchcock was a close friend of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and read Psalm 23 at the former First Lady's funeral in 1994.
At the time of his death in 1987, Hitchcock's step-father, Arthur Stanton, had left his wife and Hitchcock's mother Joan Alexander Stanton, an inheritance estimated at about $70–80 million. The estate was to be overseen by Kenneth Ira Starr who the Stantons had met through their daughter. Starr, on Joan Stanton's behalf, eventually began making investments in a number of questionable ventures in which he had a personal vested interest, many of which resulted in a loss. Sometime after 2006, Hitchcock and her mother became suspicious of Starr's dealings. A family friend, Jim Fennell, had discovered a scheme to use their East Hampton home as collateral to obtain a $5 million line of credit under the premise that the funds would be used to make more investments. Instead, Starr had been using Stanton's money to fund his lavish lifestyle. When Hitchcock learned of this, she convinced her mother to seek legal assistance and brought the case to the attention of the New York County District Attorney. Her mother sued Starr in April 2008 but she died in May 2009. Hitchcock settled the lawsuit under undisclosed terms but continued to assist in the ensuing criminal investigation. Starr was charge in criminal court for defrauding several celebrity figures. He pleaded guilty in September 2010 and he was sentenced to seven and half years in federal prison in March 2011. In January 2012, the fraud case was featured in an episode in the sixth season of American Greed which included interviews with Hitchcock detailing how she pursued Starr until his conviction was secured.
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