A noted playwright whose Pulitzer prize-winning effort, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, was subsequently adapted into a feature film by actor-turned-director Paul Newman, Paul Zindel continued to pen efforts for both stage and screen throughout the 1980s in addition to his success as an author of children's fiction. Born in Staten Island, NY, in May of 1936, Zindel would dabble in creative writing in his early years, though he would later trade the pen for the petri dish in a bid for a career as a chemist. Studying chemistry at Wagner College and later serving as a science teacher in Houston, it was during this time that Zindel would take inspiration from his childhood and focus it into Marigolds. Beginning its two-year off-Broadway run in mid-1970, Zindel's affecting drama detailed the trials of a young girl who lived with an abusive mother and an epileptic sister. Zindel took home an Obie Award for the play in 1970, and the following year found himself honored with a Pulitzer Prize as well. It wasn't long before Hollywood came knocking, and in 1972, actor Paul Newman took the helm for a feature adaptation of the popular play. Following up Marigolds with And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (1971) and The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, Zindel also continued to write for television and film with such efforts as 1974's Mame, 1985's Runaway Train, and the made-for-television version of Alice in Wonderland (also in 1985). With novels such as The Pigman and My Darling Hamburger, Zindel became a best-selling author of children's fiction as well. Married to writer Bonnie Hildebrand in 1973, the couple would have two children before divorcing in 1998. In late March 2003, Paul Zindel died of cancer in New York City. He was 66.