Danielle-Fernande Dominique Schulein-Steel was born on August 14, 1947, in New York City. Her father, John Schulein Steel owned Vegex, a vitamin company. Her mother, Norma Da Camara Stone Reis was a socialite. A little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that her parents divorced when she was just seven years old. She lived with her father. But, she was mainly raised by the servants since her father was frequently away on business.
Danielle Steel attended the Lycee Francais de New York, a college-prep school in Manhattan. Since she was alone most of the time, she spent countless hours studying. Danielle excelled and graduated in 1963 when she was only 15 years old. She then enrolled at the Parsons School of Design. Her dream was to work in the world of fashion. However, she soon changed her mind. Danielle Steel enrolled at the New York University and studied French literature instead. Ultimately, she left college in 1967.
A little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that she has been married five times. Her husbands have been Claude-Eric Lazard, a French banker; Danny Zugelder, a convict; William George Toth, a recovering heroin addict; John Traina, a shipping executive; and Thomas Perkins, a venture capitalist.
Steel was dating Danny Zugelder when he was arrested for rape. He was returned to prison in 1974. Danielle and Zugelder married the next year, while he was still incarcerated. She divorced him at the end of 1977. As an author, Danielle Steel is quoted as saying, “A book begins with an image or character or situation that I care about deeply.” In 1978, Danielle Steel’s third book, Now and Forever, was published. The book is about a woman who supports her boyfriend, a man who is accused of rape.
Danielle Steel is the mother of nine children- Beatrix, Nicholas, Trevor, Todd, Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, Zara and Maximillian. Her nonfiction book, His Bright Light (Delacorte Press 1998) is the story of Nicholas’ life and death. He was Steel’s oldest son. Nicholas died of a heroin overdose in 1997.
She gave birth to her oldest child, Beatrix, when she was twenty years old. At the same time, Steel left the Roman Catholic Church in which she had been a lifetime member. She then became a Christian Scientist.
A little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that she penned her first novel, Going Home, in just three months. Pocket Books published the book in 1973. Her endeavor earned her $3,500. She’s come a long way, baby.
In between that first published book and the rest of her successful books, there was disappointment. Danielle Steel’s next five books, plus a screenplay were rejected by publishers. Another little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that, in order to make ends meet financially, she taught creative writing classes at University High in San Francisco. Fortunately, Steel didn’t have to teach long. Her second novel, Passion’s Promise, was published in 1977.
Today, Danielle Steel is a successful writer. Everytime she writes a novel and it’s published, it goes straight to the best-seller lists. To say Steel is prolific is rather an understatement. Her seventieth novel, Bungalow 2, was published in 2007. She taps out her books, working fourteen to sixteen hours a day, on her 1946 Olympia manual typewriter. Steel credits her success to “very, very hard work.”
A little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that her name went into the “Guinness Book of World Records” in 1981 for having a book on the New York Times’ best-seller list for 381 consecutive weeks. One of her later works remained on the chart for more than 390 weeks.
Her Own Perfume
And finally, another little known fact about author Danielle Steel is that Elizabeth Arden, Inc. introduced “Danielle” perfume in 2006.