About the Author


Books and book publishing have long been an important part of life in the Kirkpatrick family. My grandfather and namesake was a senior editor at McGraw-Hill for thirty-five years. My mother, Audrey Kirkpatrick, was a short story writer, and studied under Vladimir Nabokov at Cornell University. Katherine Kirkpatrick, my younger sister, is a former book editor at Macmillan and the author of five historical novels. My older sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick was a writer and researcher for National Geographic.

I was born in Glen Cove, New York, on October 4, 1955, and grew up in Stony Brook, on the north shore of Long Island. While attending the Kent School, in Kent, Connecticut, I won writing awards for poetry and journalism. Throughout my high-school years, and during college, I wrote several hundred articles for Long Island newspapers and became a stringer for Associated Press.

At Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts, I majored in Chinese language and history. After graduation in 1978, I lived in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, where I taught ESL, directed and produced a short television documentary, and acted in two low-budget action films.

I completed my education in 1982 with an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I worked on several short films with classmates Spike Lee and Ang Lee, and optioned my first screenplay. While attending NYU, I wrote and directed "My Father The President" which won the 1982 American Film Festival and a CINE Golden Eagle. This film has since become a perennial favorite at over 1000 schools, libraries and museums across the country, and can be seen daily at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace at 28 East 20th Street, in New York City, and a the Sagamore Hill National Historical Site in Oyster Bay, New York.

The success of "My Father The President" caught the attention of film director Harrison Engle, who hired me to associate-produce a two hour television special, "The Indomitable Theodore Roosevelt," which starred George C. Scott. This film premiered on CBS in 1984, won a prestigious CINE Golden Eagle, and was nominated for an Emmy.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and continued working with Harrison Engle, with whom I produced several short films for the Television Academy Hall of Fame, which included film biographies of Milton Berle, Norman Lear, Edward R. Murrow, and Lucille Ball.

The inspiration for my first book came in 1983, while I was collecting material at the Directors Guild of America for a film tribute to King Vidor, the legendary director of over seventy-six motion pictures. In the midst of organizing Vidor’s papers, I came across a locked strong-box containing the details of Vidor’s investigation of the 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor. Biographers A. Scott Berg and Edmund Morris were instrumental in helping me to obtain a publishing contract with E.P. Dutton. "A Cast of Killers," released in 1986, was on the best-sellers list for sixteen weeks, and was hailed as “mesmerizing” by author Anne Rice in a featured review for the New York Times Book Review.

After writing “A Cast of Killers,” I worked at Paramount Studios with screenwriter Robert Towne. Another screenwriter I worked with was Larry Ferguson, with whom I developed an action and adventure screenplay, “One Deadly Summer.” This film project, based on the true story of marine scientist Richard Novak’s one man war against Medellin drug lord Carlos Lehder, was optioned for actor Harrison Ford by Cinergi Films. Later retitled “Turning The Tide,” and co-written with author Peter Abrahams, it was published by Dutton in 1991 and excerpted by Readers Digest in 1992.

Research on my third book, "Lords of Sipán," was begun in 1991 in a small village on the north coast of Peru where I traced the contents of a looted pre-Inca tomb as it entered the black market in stolen antiquities. From Peru I traced the artifacts to London, New York, Beverly Hills, and finally, to the Santa Barbara Art Museum, where the priceless artifacts were eventually confiscated by U.S. Customs agents. My investigation and subsequent book, published by Morrow in 1994, was hailed by the Washington Post and National Geographic as an achievement in its field. It has since been excerpted in the Reader's Digest, optioned for a television movie by National Geographic, and was the subject of a New York Times feature story.

My fourth book, "Edgar Cayce, An American Prophet,” was a biography of the famed Virginia Beach psychic and father of the holistic health movement. Published by Riverhead in September 2000, this book has been described by the New Yorker Magazine as “a codex for the New Age.” Another reviewer, and long-time Edgar Cayce scholar, has described it as “the most enlightening book ever written about Edgar Cayce.”

"The Revenge of Thomas Eakins," published on April 1, 2006, is a biography of the controversial Philadelphia portrait painter. It was nominated by Yale University Press for a Pulitzer Prize.

My latest book, “Hitler’s Holy Relics,” a true-crime thriller set in World War II, tells the story of Dr. Walter Horn, a U.C. Berkeley art historian turned Army sleuth who races to stay one step ahead of Nazi conspirators seeking to preserve the treasures of the fallen Third Reich for a Fourth Reich.

I live in Stony Brook, New York, and Pasadena, California, with writer Nancy Thurlbeck, whom I have collaborated on several ghost-written publishing projects. Nancy and I have a Brady Bunch household that consists of four children ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-seven.

Besides my film and literary endeavors, I am active in numerous civic activities, have sat on the board of PEN, chaired a fund-raising team for the YMCA, and have produced a nationally recognized literary event for the Pasadena Public Library. Other personal interests include grave rubbing—I have one of the largest collections in North America—and bell ringing—I hold the rare distinction of being one of the few Americans invited to join the London County Guild of Change Ringers.

5 Responses to “About the Author”:

  1. Fascinating stuff. Listening to the program from Tokyo, Japan.

    - Robbie

  2. NC says:

    Sidney
    My name is Noah Charney and I'm a fellow author of fiction and non-fiction. My most recent book is something of a parallel to Hitler's Holy Relics, which I am really enjoying and which I will review once I've finished for ArtInfo. My book is "Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece," which tells the 600-year story of The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. The last portion of the book covers the altarpiece's theft by the ERR and its subsequent recovery, focusing on Monuments Men Robert Posey and Lincoln Kirstein. I would love to be in touch with you, perhaps to interview you and help promote your book, perhaps to share a joint speaking engagement at some time (as our audiences are likely to overlap), and perhaps to discuss a television project covering Nazi Art Theft, which is a rich topic and which various producers have contacted me with an interest in. Please write if you are interested: theartthief@gmail.com. Best wishes, Noah Charney

  3. shepherdh says:

    Dear Mr. Kirkpatrick,

    You came recommended for your expertise on Edgar Cayce. I am the author of "The Journey of Your Soul: A Channel Explores Channeling and the Michael Teachings." I am revising it and have become intrigued with the question of why Cayce lived most of his adult life in poverty: was it simply because he was a poor money manager, or were the donations spotty? Did he overextend himself with overly ambitious projects? I'd very much appreciate your "bottom line" on this.


    Shepherd Hoodwin
    99 Pearl
    Laguna Niguel CA 92677-4818
    949-429-8792
    sgh (at) summerjoy (dot) com

  4. K Kirby says:

    Sidney,
    I have been a follower of Edgar Cayce since I was 17. Born in 1955 like you. My focus is the gem/mineral readings as there is so much BS circulating about their properties. Anyways, I want to thank you for the biography on Edgar Cayce. Also read your article on his trip to Mexico with Theodore Mitchell Hastings. I would like to contribute the following to your research and for general clarity.
    Azurite


    Nomi Popolari: Lapis linguis, lapis lingua.
    Energia: Ricettiva
    Pianeta: Venere
    Elemento: Acqua
    Poteri: Sensitivita' psichica, sogni, divinazione, guarigione
    (above taken from an italian mineral website - http://www.wita.it/pietre/azzurrite-acqua+c36.html)

    If it doesn't show in email, the icon is a picture azurite. Who was the italian/latin influence in the readings? Thanks for your wonderful Cayce book and articles.
    Best regards,
    Kelly
    kjkerby@lycos.com

  5. I have casually studied Edgar Cayce since the 1970's, your book is astonishing. I wonder if you discovered a connection between Edgar Cayce and Frank Lloyd Wright during your extensive research? Thanks , Mark m110architect@gmail.com

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