Norris Church Mailer
Norris Church Mailer (born Barbara Jean Davis; January 31, 1949 in Atkins, Arkansas – November 21, 2010 in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, New York) was the wife of American novelist, Norman Mailer, and author of the memoir, A Ticket to the Circus, and of several novels.
Before her relationship with Mailer, she had worked several jobs, including in a pickle factory and as a bookkeeper. At twenty, she married Larry Norris having never traveled outside of Arkansas. She gave birth to son Matthew in 1972, and was divorced in 1975. After her divorce, she claimed to have "had a fling" with Bill Clinton.
Life with Norman Mailer
After her divorce, she lived in Russellville, Arkansas, taught high-school art, and wrote about a hundred pages of a novel which she later reshaped into Windchill Summer, and published in 2000. She had read Norman Mailer's biography of Marilyn Monroe and arranged in 1975 to attend a party in Russellville thrown by her former teacher and Mailer's Army buddy Fig Gwaltney. They went to her home after the party.
After he left Arkansas, she mailed him a love poem, which he returned to her, marked up with his compositional criticism. Four months later, having left her job, she moved with his help to a brownstone row house apartment in Brooklyn Heights, and became a model with Wilhelmina Models. She adopted her former married name, Norris, as her first name and took Mailer's suggestion of Church as her surname.
Their son, John Buffalo Mailer, was born in 1978; they married in 1980. Church said she decided to leave Mailer in the early 1990s because of his many affairs, but he dissuaded her. Mailer died in 2007. She published her memoir, A Ticket to the Circus, in 2010, and explained that the title described her life with Mailer, his seven children by his other wives, and her own two children: "Well, I bought a ticket to the circus. I don't know why I was surprised to see elephants".
- Berger, Joseph (November 21, 2010). "Church Mailer, Artist and Ally, Dies". New York Times. Books. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
- Lennon, J. Michael (2013). Norman Mailer: A Double Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1439150214. OCLC 873006264.
- Witchel, Alex (March 29, 2010). "Norris Church Mailer: The Last Wife". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-15.