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Shana Alexander

Shana AlexanderAKA Shana Ager

Born: 6-Oct-1925
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 23-Jun-2005
Location of death: Hermosa Beach, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Buried, Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Journalist, Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder

Shana Alexander was a journalist and columnist. She was the first woman to write for Life Magazine, and later wrote for McCall's and Newsweek. She wrote and read radio and television commentaries, and is probably best known for offering the liberal perspective in brief debates at the end of every episode of 60 Minutes during the late 1970s, opposite the conservative viewpoints of James J. Kilpatrick.

Her non-fiction includes Anyone's Daughter about Patty Hearst, The Pizza Connection about Mafia connections to illegal drugs, and Very Much a Lady and The Nutcracker about, respectively, murderers Jean Harris and Frances Schreuder. The Nutcracker was made into a miniseries in 1987, starring Lee Remick and Inga Swenson.

An article she wrote for Life detailed the true (and then-startling but now-cliché) story of a suicide hotline worker trying to keep a depressed caller on the line so the call could be traced and her life saved. The article was expanded to movie length in 1965 as The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft.

Alexander's father, Milton Ager, wrote a few ditties that are still remembered to this day, including "Ain't She Sweet", "Nobody's Baby", and "Happy Days Are Here Again." Her mother, Cecilia Ager, was a star reporter and film critic for Variety.

Father: Milton Ager (songwriter, b. 6-Oct-1893, d. 6-May-1979)
Mother: Cecilia Ager (film critic, Daily Variety)
Husband: Stephen Alexander (div., one daughter)
Daughter: Katherine Alexander

    University: Vassar College (1942-45)

    Harper's Bazaar
    Newsweek Columnist, Contributing Editor (1972-75)
    McCall's Editor (1969)
    Life Staff Writer (1961-64)
    Life Reporter (1951-61)

    60 Minutes Commentator (1975-79)

Author of books:
The Feminine Eye (1970)
Shana Alexander's State-by-State Guide to Women's Legal Rights (1975)
Talking Woman (1976)
Anyone's Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patty Hearst (1979)
Very Much a Lady: The Untold Story of Jean Harris and Dr. Herman Tarnower (1983)
Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder: A Family Album (1985, true crime)
The Pizza Connection: Lawyers, Money, Drugs, Mafia (1988)
When She Was Bad: The Story of Bess, Hortense, Sukhreet and Nancy (1990)
Happy Days: My Mother, My Father, my Sister & Me (1995, memoir)
Astonishing Elephant (2000)

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