Sidney Sheldon's enormous success as an author of best-selling page-turners -- Bloodline and The Other Side of Midnight, both turned into potboiler movies, and several other titles that inspired scads of miniseries -- has largely overshadowed many of his earlier accomplishments. During the 1960s and '70s, he created the popular TV shows Hart to Hart and I Dream of Jeannie, and wrote several episodes of The Patty Duke Show. And during his heyday as a Hollywood scriptwriter, he earned an Academy Award -- Best Original Screenplay -- for writing 1947's The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.
Even so, it wasn't until he decided to try his hand at novels -- at the age of 50! -- that he achieved the status of a pop culture icon. Let this be a lesson to us all: You're never too old to become, for better or worse, a phenomenon.
(BTW: Think we'll see a photo of Sheldon during the "In Memorial" segment of the Feb. 25 Oscarcast?)