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Robert Graysmith
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Robert Graysmith

Robert Graysmith is the bestselling author of Zodiac, Zodiac Unmasked, The Sleeping Lady, The Murder of Bob Crane, on which the film Auto Focus, starring Greg Kinnear, was based, Unabomber: A Desire To Kill, The Bell Tower: A True Detective Story of Gas-lit San Francisco and Amerithrax. Zodiac is now in 39th printing and sold over 400 million copies worldwide; Zodiac Unmasked is in its seventh printing.

The six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of the 1973 Foreign Press Club Award and 1976 World Population Contest spent 20 years working for the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune and Stockton Record as an illustrator, nationally syndicated political cartoonist and journalist. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He has been interviewed about his work by U.S. News and World Report. He has also written for USA Today. Graysmith is represented by an original cartoon in the Smithsonian Institute and in the Truman, Nixon, Reagan and LBJ Presidential Libraries. His solar energy cartoon is in the office of the California Governor.

His original work is in the personal collections of Henry Kissinger, John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Truman and Reagan, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Jimmy Durante, Senator Paul McCloskey, Senator John Connally, Vice-President Spiro Agnew, Senator Barry Goldwater, California Governor Jerry Brown, Governor Ronald Reagan and the publisher of The New York Times Punch Schulzburger.

Graysmith began his newspaper career as a cartoonist for Japan's Tachikawa Marauder, where he drew sports cartoons, a comic strip and crafted a full-page illustrated column from 1958 to 1959 after receiving a bachelor degree in fine arts from California College in Oakland. From 1964 to 1965 he was a sports cartoonist and sports department assistant for the Oakland Tribune and from 1965 to 1968 he worked for the Stockton Record as a staff artist, sports cartoonist and photo re-toucher. From 1968 to 1983 he was a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle working directly with the publisher. He drew story illustrations for the news and entertainment sections as well as maps and during that time was nominated for the Pulitzer six times by the paper. Since then, six of his true crime books have been published.

While writing the books, Graysmith uncovered new information on the unsolved crimes, conducted 200 interviews, tracked down missing witnesses, surviving victims and possible suspects. He illustrated the books with composite sketches, maps, graphs and also drew the cover. Graysmith honed his investigative skills during the 10-year reporting process for the book. Today many of the detectives on the case publicly concede that the lead suspect in the books, a convicted felon now deceased, was the long-sought serial killer.

His The Murder of Bob Crane from Crown Publishers about the unsolved homicide of Hogan's Heroes sitcom star Bob Crane was adapted for screen in Auto Focus, for which Graysmith received his first Story By feature film credit.

Graysmith has numerous unpublished books in the works, including Shooting Zodiac about the passing of the obsession torch as the filmmakers became enthralled in the investigative of the story themselves during the making of the movie.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.

Robert Graysmith Facts


Selected Filmography

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