Aaron Edward "A.E." Hotchner (born June 28, 1920) is an American editor, novelist, playwright, and biographer.
Hotchner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Sally (née Rossman), a Sunday school administrator, and Samuel Hotchner, a jeweler and lawyer. He attended Soldan High School. In 1940, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in both history (A.B.) and law (J.D.). He was admitted to the Missouri State Bar in 1941, and briefly practiced law in St. Louis in 1941–42. After the outbreak of World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a journalist, attaining the rank of major. When the war was over, he decided to forgo law and pursue a career in writing.
Hotchner has been an editor, biographer, novelist and playwright. In 1948, he met Ernest Hemingway, and the two were close friends until Hemingway's death in 1961. Hotchner is perhaps best known for Papa Hemingway, his 1966 biography of Hemingway, whose work he had also adapted for plays and television.
Hotchner's play Sweet Prince was produced Off-Broadway in 1982, at the Theater Off-Park, starring Keir Dullea and Ian Abercrombie.
The 1993 film, King of the Hill, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is a screen adaptation of Hotchner's 1973 autobiographical novel of the same name. A Depression-era, bildungsroman memoir, it tells the story of a boy struggling to survive on his own in a hotel in St. Louis after his mother is committed to a sanatorium with tuberculosis. His father, a German immigrant and traveling salesman working for the Hamilton Watch Company, is off on long trips from which the boy cannot be certain he will return.
Personal life and philanthropy
In 1982, with his friend and neighbor, actor Paul Newman, Hotchner founded Newman's Own, Inc. All profits from this successful line of food products and other ventures are donated to charities.
In 1988, Hotchner and Newman also co-founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp and year-round center for seriously ill children located in Ashford, Connecticut. The original camp was later expanded to become a number of other Hole in the Wall Camps at other locations in the U.S., Ireland, France, and Israel. The camps serve 13,000 children every year, free of charge.
Hotchner has been honored with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
Hotchner resides in Westport, Connecticut, with his wife Virginia Kiser, where he spends most weekends, and cares for an African gray parrot, and a flock of peacocks and chickens.
In popular culture
In Criminal Minds, Aaron Hotchner of the BAU is named after him.
- The Boyhood Memoirs of A. E. Hotchner: King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles (Missouri History Museum Press, 2007, ISBN 9781883982607)
- The Dangerous American (Random House, 1958)
- Papa Hemingway (Random House, 1966)
- Treasure (Random House, 1970)
- King of the Hill (Harper & Row, 1973, ISBN 0-06-011964-0)
- Looking for Miracles: A Memoir about Loving (Harper & Row, 1975, ISBN 0-06-011965-9)
- Doris Day, Her Own Story (G. K. Hall, 1976, ISBN 0-8161-6391-X)
- Sophia, Living and Loving : Her Own Story (Morrow, 1979, ISBN 0-688-03428-4)
- The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (Putnam, 1981, ISBN 0-399-12651-1)
- Papa Hemingway : The Ecstasy and Sorrow (Morrow, 1983, ISBN 0-688-02041-0)
- Choice People : The Greats, Near-Greats, and Ingrates I Have Known (Morrow, 1984, ISBN 0-688-02215-4)
- Hemingway and His World (Vendome, 1989, ISBN 0-86565-115-9)
- Blown Away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties (Simon & Schuster, 1990, ISBN 0-671-69316-6)
- Louisiana Purchase (Carroll & Graf, 1996, ISBN 0-7867-0309-1)
- The Day I Fired Alan Ladd and Other World War II Adventures (U. of Missouri Press, 2002, ISBN 0-8262-1432-0)
- Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good: the Madcap Business Adventure of the Truly Oddest Couple Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner, (Random House, 2003, ISBN 0-385-51159-0).
- Everyone Comes to Elaine's (Harper Entertainment, 2004, ISBN 0-06-053818-X)
- Paul and Me: 53 Years of Adventures and Misadventures with My Pal Paul Newman (Random House Digital, 2010, ISBN 0-385-53234-2)
- O.J. in the Morning, G&T at Night (St. Martin's Press, 2013, ISBN 1-250-02821-3)
- Hemingway in Love (St. Martin's Press, 2015, ISBN 978-1-2500-7748-6)
Awards and honors
- Distinguished Alumni Award, Washington University School of Law, 1992.
- Honorary D.L., Washington University, 1993.
- Authors Guild
- Dramatists Guild
- Writers Guild of America
- Missouri Bar Association
- Century Club