James Patterson is a multi-millionaire novelist and producer from the United States with an estimated net worth of $800 million. He is most known for his novels featuring fictitious psychologist Alex Cross.
However, he has also authored the “Women’s Murder Club,” “Detective Michael Bennett,” “Maximum Ride,” “Daniel X,” and “Witch and Wizard” series, in addition to several stand-alone thrillers and non-fiction works. Patterson’s novels have sold over 300 million copies worldwide, making him the best-selling novelist globally.
Patterson has published over 140 novels since 1976 and owns the “New York Times” record for the most #1 best-selling fiction titles by a single author (67), which is also a Guinness World Record; he also holds the Guinness World Record for “First author to sell over one million e-books.”
James frequently collaborates with other authors, including Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, and Peter De Jonge, and despite his success, he is frequently chastised by seasoned writers. Patterson’s works have been adapted for film and television.
He worked as executive producer on several of them, including the “Women’s Murder Club” television show (2007–2008), the film “Maximum Ride” (2016), and the Netflix documentary miniseries “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” (2020). In 2018, he presented the whole crime series “James Patterson’s Murder Is Forever” on Investigation Discovery.
James is one of the world’s five highest-paid authors, earning between $70 and-90 million each year. To date, his works have sold over 300 million copies worldwide.
James Patterso Childhood
James Patterson was born James Brendan Patterson in Newburgh, New York, on March 22, 1947. Isabelle, his mother, was a teacher and a housewife, and Charles, his father, was an insurance broker.
James was raised in a working-class household and obtained a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University, both with honors.
James Patterso Career
Patterson began his career as an advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson upon his graduation from Vanderbilt. He resigned in 1996 and chose to devote his time to writing, releasing his debut novel, “The Thomas Berryman Number,” in 1976.
The work was shortlisted for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. His most successful works include forensic psychologist-turned-government consultant-turned-private psychologist Alex Cross, who had his Patterson debut in 1993’s “Along Came a Spider” and has featured in over 25 of the author’s novels.
James has also authored several books for young readers, including the “Middle School,” “Treasure Hunters,” “I Funny,” and “Dog Diaries” series, as well as graphic novels/manga adaptations of the “Maximum Ride,” “Daniel X,” and “Witch & Wizard” series.
Patterson’s non-fiction works include “Against Medical Advice” (2008), “The Murder of King Tut” (2009), “All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row” (2018), and “John Lennon’s Last Days” (2020), as well as several paperbacks in the “Discovery’s Murder is Forever” series.
In 2018, James collaborated with Bill Clinton on the novel “The President Is Missing.”
Patterson inked a seventeen-book agreement in 2009, agreeing to publish or co-author six young adult novels and eleven adult novels by the end of 2012. Though “Forbes” reported that the contract was worth $150 million, James has stated that this was not the case.
In 2005, he founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards to honor “individuals, businesses, schools, and other organizations that develop novel and efficient ways to convey the thrill of books and reading.”
James Patterson Entertainment, his production firm, got a first-look agreement with CBS Television Studios in 2014 and Entertainment One in 2020.
Patterson provided his voice to an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2007. He featured as himself on “Castle” in 2009 and 2010, with other authors Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly, as one of the titular character’s poker friends.
His work has also been adapted for video games, including the “Women’s Murder Club” PC games “Death in Scarlet,” “A Darker Shade of Grey,” and “Twice in a Blue Moon,” as well as the Nintendo DS titles “Little Black Lies” and “Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion.”
The “Daniel X” series was also ported to the Nintendo DS via the game “The Ultimate Power.”
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Patterson’s work was first adapted for television in 1991 with the film “Child of Darkness, Child of Light,” which was based on “Cradle and All”/” Virgin.” The “Alex Cross” novels were adapted for the big screen in 1997 with “Kiss the Girls” and 2001 with “Along Came to a Spider,” both of which starred Morgan Freeman as Cross.
Tyler Perry took up the role in 2012 with “Alex Cross.” The first novel in the “Women’s Murder Club” series was made into the 2003 television film “First to Die,” and ABC aired the “Women’s Murder Club” series from 2007 to 2008, starring Angie Harmon.
James Patterso Private Life
On July 24, 1997, James married Susan Solie, and their son, Jack, collaborated with his father on the 2017 children’s book “Penguins of America.” Patterson partnered with Scholastic Book Clubs in 2015 to create the James Patterson Pledge, which helps provide books to young readers; he has contributed millions of dollars to school libraries via this initiative.
Additionally, he has contributed more than $2 million to independent bookshops and more than $35 million to Manhattan College, Vanderbilt University, and Wisconsin (where his wife attended college).
James has endowed multiple scholarships at schools and institutions around the United States, including the University of Southern California, Howard University, and Florida Atlantic University.
He co-chaired World Book Night 2013, co-founded the Children’s Reading Fund in the United Kingdom, and served as Vice Chairman of Florida public television station WXEL-TV.
Patterson developed JIMMY Patterson, a children’s book label committed to “transforming youngsters into lifelong readers,” in 2015, and ReadKiddoRead.com, a resource for parents, librarians, and teachers to get children enthused about reading.