Thomas Harris

Born: 1940
Country: American
William Thomas Harris III (born September 22, 1940) is an American writer, best known for a series of suspense novels about his most famous character, Hannibal Lecter. All of his works have been made into films, the most notable being The Silence of the Lambs, which became only the third film in Academy Award history to sweep the Oscars in major categories.

Harris was born in Jackson, Tennessee, but moved as a child with his family to Rich, Mississippi. He was introverted and bookish in grade school and then blossomed in high school. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he majored in English and graduated in 1964. While in college, he worked as a reporter for the local newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald, covering the police beat. In 1968, he moved to New York City to work for Associated Press until 1974 when he began work on Black Sunday.

Little is known about Harris's personal life as he avoids publicity and has not given an interview since 1976. At Baylor University he met and married Harriet Anne Haley, a fellow student, in June 1961. They had one daughter, Elizabeth Anne, before they divorced in August 1968. Harris remained close to his mother Polly throughout his life and called her every night no matter where he was. He often discussed particular scenes from his novels with her. Polly died on December 31, 2011.

He lives in South Florida and has a summer home in Sag Harbor, New York. His long-term domestic partner is Pace Barnes, a woman who, according to USA Today, "used to work in publishing and is as outgoing as he is quiet." Harris' friend and literary agent Morton Janklow said of him: "He's one of the good guys. He is big, bearded and wonderfully jovial. If you met him, you would think he was a choirmaster. He loves cooking—he's done the Le Cordon Bleu exams—and it's great fun to sit with him in the kitchen while he prepares a meal and see that he's as happy as a clam. He has these old-fashioned manners, a courtliness you associate with the South."