Jill Schary Robinson

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Jill Schary Robinson
Born (1936-05-30) May 30, 1936 (age 83)
Los Angeles, California,
United States
Occupationnovelist, poet, essayist
NationalityUnited States
Genrefiction. memoir
Subjectsocial justice, feminism, Hollywood
Notable works
  • With a Cast of Thousands;
  • Perdido;
  • Bed/Time/Story
SpouseJon Courrier Zimmer (divorced)
Lawrence Robinson
Stuart Shaw
ChildrenJeremy Zimmer
Johanna Simmel
RelativesDore Schary, father
Miriam Parsonnet Svet, mother

Jill Schary Robinson (born May 30, 1936) is a Los Angeles-based novelist, essayist, and teacher, whose memoirs contend with the themes of addiction, recovery and growing up during the golden age of Hollywood.

Early life[edit]

Schary Robinson was born to a Jewish family, the daughter of Dore Schary, the Oscar and Tony Award-winning writer, producer, and head of MGM[1][2] and Miriam Svet, a painter.[3] In 1956, she married Jon Courrier Zimmer, then a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, in a Jewish ceremony in Beverly Hills.[4]

Writing career[edit]

As a copywriter for the advertising agency FCB, Robinson trained with Helen Gurley Brown.[5] Robinson also wrote on women's issues for Cosmopolitan and covered political trials for the SoHo Weekly News. Her first memoir, With a Cast of Thousands is about her experiences growing up among celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and Adlai Stevenson.[6] She also interviewed political and film personalities on KPFK and KLAC.[7]

Robinson's memoir about drug addiction Bed/Time/Story, was turned into a TV–Movie called "A Cry For Love".[8] She reviewed books and wrote articles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, Washington Post, and American and French Vogue.[1][9][10][11]

During the 1980s, Robinson relocated to London and wrote a series of columns on being an American in Britain for London's Daily Telegraph. Her Vanity Fair story on Roman Polanski was included in George Plimpton’s book The Best American Movie Writing for 1998.

In 1999 author Jonathan Lethem described 1999's Past Forgetting as a "quietly moving memoir recounting that great rarity, a truly encompassing and persistent loss of memory." [12] Robinson and her husband Stuart Shaw also performed on cruise ships, reading their play Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through (adapted from their memoir, published in 2002).

In 2005, Robinson was given a lifetime grant to develop the non-profit Wimpole Street Writers program, which continues both in London and Los Angeles.[13]

In 2009, she was instrumental in saving the Motion Picture and Television Fund's retirement home.[14]


Robinson's major published works are:

  • With a Cast of Thousands, 1963
  • Thanks for the Rubies, Now Please Pass the Moon, 1972
  • Bed/Time/Story, 1974
  • Perdido, 1978
  • Dr. Rocksinger and the Age of Longing, 1982
  • Follow Me Through Paris, 1983
  • Star Country, 1998
  • Past Forgetting, 1999
  • Falling in Love When you Thought You Were Through, 2002


  1. ^ a b HuffingtoPost.com. "Jill Robinson". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  2. ^ Schary Robinson, Jill (June 1, 2016). "About Eighty". jillscharyrobinson.com. I think of myself as a writer, a grandmother who makes art for the grandchildren. As a woman, a Jew? Depends—not always any of these, but a jazz band perhaps, each part of myself knowing its own score, and where to come in, and when.
  3. ^ Kessler, Judy (January 13, 1975). "The Reformed Family Robinson: a Sordid Life Becomes An Open Book". People.
  4. ^ "Jill Schary and Jon Zimmer get married 1956". The Los Angeles Times. January 9, 1956.
  5. ^ Robinson, Jill (2000). Past Forgetting: My Memory Lost and Found. HarperCollins / Cliff Street Books. ISBN 0-06-019430-8.
  6. ^ Zimmer, Jill Schary (1963). With A Cast Of Thousands: A Hollywood Childhood. Stein and Day.
  7. ^ Encyclopedia.com. ""Robinson, Jill 1936-"". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  8. ^ IMDB.com. "A Cry For Love (1980)". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Robinson, Jill (October 6, 1990). "An inconvenient Woman".
  10. ^ Robinson, Jill (March 29, 2009). "The End of the 'Motion Picture Home'".
  11. ^ Robinson, Jill (April 1997). "Polanski's Inferno".
  12. ^ Lethem, Jonathan. ""Past Forgetting: My Memory Lost and Found" by Jill Robinson". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  13. ^ "Wimpole Street Writers". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  14. ^ NPR (August 11, 2009). "Hospital For Hollywood's Elderly Set To Close". NPR.

External links[edit]