Lawrence Grobel is a freelance writer who has written 25 books and for numerous national magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Newsday, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, American Way, Parade, Details, TV Guide, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, Diversion, Writer’s Digest, and AARP. He has been a contributing editor at Playboy, Movieline, Hollywood Life, Autograph, New Zealand’s World, Bulgaria’s Ego, and Poland’s Trendy magazines. Playboy called him “the interviewer’s interviewer” after his interview with Marlon Brando for their 25th anniversary issue; he subsequently made news as the result of his controversial interviews with Gov. Jesse Ventura and former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight.
Between 1968-71 he taught in the Peace Corps at the Ghana Institute of Journalism in West Africa. He created the MFA in Professional Writing program for Antioch University in 1977 and served as its Director for three years. In 1981 he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for fiction. His 1985 book Conversations with Capote received a PEN Special Achievement award and reached the top of the Village Voice’s bestseller list.
Grobel’s books include: Conversations with Capote; The Hustons; Conversations with Brando; Talking with Michener; Above the Line: Conversations About the Movies; Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives; Climbing Higher with Montel Williams (a N.Y. Times bestseller and Publisher’s Weekly Best Book in 2004); The Art of the Interview: Lessons from a Master of the Craft (also a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book in 2004); Al Pacino: In Conversation with Lawrence Grobel (awarded the Prix Litteraire 2008 for the best international book of the year by the French Critics Guild); Conversations with Robert Evans; Conversations with Ava Gardner; Marilyn & Me (for Lawrence Schiller); You Show Me Yours (a memoir); Yoga? No, Shmoga! (satire); “I Want You in My Movie!” (on the making of Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome); Barbra Streisand (Taschen); Meryl Streep (Axis Mundi); Madonna Paints a Mustache (poetry); 2 collections of magazine profiles: ICONS and Signing In; You, Talking to Me (120 Lessons Learned from Interviewing); 2 novels: Catch a Fallen Star and Begin Again Finnegan; and 2 novellas: The Black Eyes of Akbah and Commando Ex.
Joyce Carol Oates has called him “the Mozart of interviewers” and J.P. Donleavy has called him “the most intelligent interviewer in the United States.” From 2001—2011 he taught seminars on The Art of the Interview, The Literature of Journalism, Articles to Film, and Autobiography & the Memoir at UCLA, and returned to teach again in 2017. Each November since 2007 he has served as a jury member at the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland. In 2013 he appeared as himself in Al Pacino’s film Wilde Salome and Shane Salerno’s film about J.D. Salinger. He is married to artist and textile designer Hiromi Oda and they have two daughters, Maya and Hana.