Jerry Siegel

Jerry Siegel

Screenwriter

Biography

Jerome Siegel (October 17, 1914 – January 28, 1996), who also used pseudonyms including Joe Carter and Jerry Ess, was an American writer of superhero comics. His most famous creation was Superman, which he created in collaboration with his friend Joe Shuster. He was inducted (with Shuster posthumously) into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1993.Jerry Siegel was born on October 17, 1914, in Cleveland, Ohio, to a Jewish family. His parents were both Jewish immigrants who arrived in New York in 1900, having fled anti-Semitism in their native Lithuania. His father was born Mikhel Iankel Segalovich and his mother was born Sora Meita Khaikels, but they changed their names to Michael and Sarah Siegel after moving to America. Jerry was the last of six children (Isabel, Leo, Minerva, Roslyn, and Harry). His father was a tailor and owned a clothing store. On June 2, 1932, Jerry's father was assaulted in his store by a shoplifter and suffered a fatal heart attack. Jerry's mother died of a heart attack on August 17, 1941. Siegel's family moved to the Jewish neighborhood of Glenville in 1928. He attended Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. At about age 16, while at Glenville, he befriended Joe Shuster. Siegel described his friendship with the similarly shy and bespectacled Shuster: "When Joe and I first met, it was like the right chemicals coming together." They shared a love of science fiction, adventure fiction, and movies. Siegel graduated from high school in June 1934. Unable to afford college, he worked various delivery jobs, all the while courting publishers. In the summer of 1935, still living in Cleveland, he and Shuster began selling comic-book stories to National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics, in New York. Siegel and Shuster had been developing Superman since 1933, hoping to sell it as a syndicated newspaper comic-strip. But after years of fruitless soliciting to the syndicates, Siegel and Shuster agreed to publish Superman in a comic book. In March 1938, they sold all rights to Superman to the comic-book publisher Detective Comics, Inc., another forerunner of DC, for $130 ($2,260 when adjusted for inflation). Siegel and Shuster later regretted their decision to sell Superman after he became an astonishing success. DC Comics now owned the character and reaped the royalties. Nevertheless, DC Comics retained Siegel and Shuster as the principal writer and artist for the Superman comics, and they were well-paid because they were popular with the readers. For instance, in 1942 they together earned $63,776.46 (AFI $955,218). Siegel bought himself a house in University Heights and a car.


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Filmography
Screenwriter

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