Gerald Clarke graduated from Yale as an English and American Literature major. After a short stint at Harvard Law, he turned to journalism and wrote for Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, and Esquire, among others. As the Show Business writer for Time, he interviewed some of his generation's most famous people-including Mae West, Elizabeth Taylor, Raquel Welch, Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, and George Burns.
Intrigued by the working habits and creative genius of other writers, he began a series of in-depth profiles of famous authors-such as Allen Ginsburg, Gore Vidal, P.G. Wodehouse, Vladimir Nabokov, and Truman Capote. His profile of Capote became a full-fledged biography-with Clarke serving as a witness to the final ten years of the author's life.