Robert James Waller

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Robert James Waller
Robert James Waller.jpg
Robert James Waller Jr.

(1939-08-01)August 1, 1939
DiedMarch 10, 2017(2017-03-10) (aged 77)
EducationUniversity of Northern Iowa, BA '62, MA '64
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington, PhD '68
  • Academic
  • educator
  • writer
Notable workThe Bridges of Madison County
Georgia Ann Wiedemeier
(m. 1961; div. 1997)

Linda Bow
(m. 2004)

Robert James Waller (August 1, 1939 – March 10, 2017) was an American author best known for The Bridges of Madison County, an enormously successful book in 1993. He was also a photographer and musician.


Robert James Waller Jr. was born in Charles City, Iowa, and grew up in Rockford, Iowa.[1] Waller received his BA ('62) and MA ('64) from University of Northern Iowa (then known as Iowa State Teachers College).[2] He received his PhD in business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington in 1968.

Later that year he returned to UNI and began teaching management and economics, and in 1977 became a full professor. He became dean of the College of Business in 1980 and retired from that position in 1986. It was announced in 2000 that he made a "seven figure" donation to Indiana University.[3]

Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County which was the top best-seller in 1993. Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have been made into motion pictures.

Personal life[edit]

In 1997, his marriage of 35 years to Georgia ended in divorce.

An article in People Magazine noted, "The parallels between Waller's life and his art—his Bridges heroine, farmwife Francesca, sacrifices her chance for happiness with a globe-hopping photographer in order to stay home and shield her loved ones from small-town scandal—haven't been lost on the locals".[4]


Waller died on March 10, 2017, at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas. He was 77 and had been battling multiple myeloma.[5]



  • The Bridges of Madison County (1992; original UK title Love in Black and White)
  • Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend (1993); ISBN 0-446-51653-8
  • Puerto Vallarta Squeeze (1995)
  • Border Music (1995)
  • A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County (2002)
  • High Plains Tango (2005)
  • The Long Night of Winchell Dear (2007)



  • One Good Road is Enough (1990)
  • Iowa: Perspectives on Today and Tomorrow (1991)
  • Old Songs in a New Café (1994)
  • Images (1994) [6]
  • The Summer Nights Never End...Until They Do: Life, Liberty, and the Lure of the Short-Run (2012)


  • The Ballads of Madison County: a Collection of Songs; Audio CD (July 23, 1993); Atlantic Records 82511.


  1. ^ a b Grimes, William (March 11, 2017). "Robert James Waller, Author of 'The Bridges of Madison County', Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  2. ^ "Famous UNI Alumni". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  3. ^ Author Waller leaves large estate gift to alma mater,; accessed March 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Gliatto, Tom. "Burning Bridges". People. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  5. ^ "'Bridges of Madison County' author Robert James Waller dies at 77". Los Angeles Times. March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Images. ISBN 0446670316.