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Martha Frankel


Martha Frankel

Martha Frankel grew up in a warm and loving family of die-hard gamblers, where her father's poker games and her mother's mah jongg mingled with big pots of delicious food and endless gossip and storytelling. The kids did their own gambling: Martha, her sister Helene, and their cousins bet on which of their ever-dieting mothers would lose the most every week, which cousin could hold their breath longest underwater or who could eat the most matzo. She went with her father and uncles to the track most Tuesdays, carrying the daily Racing Form in her bookbag.

When she was eighteen, Martha left for to the University of Miami, looking to find a life that didn’t include detailed daily study of the sports section. She thought the gambling gene had passed her by. She studied English in hopes of becoming a writer, dropping out when her ill-advised advisor told her that English majors become English teachers, not writers.

Then Martha met editor Annie Flanders, who was just starting the original Details magazine. Annie gave Martha her start as Details’ book reviewer. Martha also wrote the magazine’s first “Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” a first-person column about plastic surgery, where she described her own breast reduction (this was in the 1980s, when such procedures were far less commonplace).

Her first celebrity interview was Aidan Quinn, and she started doing more entertainment pieces. She interviewed Elizabeth Taylor and director Nicholas Roeg, and toured the newly opened Tribeca Film Center with Robert De Niro. In 1990, she started writing for other magazines and traveled around the world to interview international entertainment personalities such as Roman Polanski, Juliette Binoche, Anthony Hopkins, Susan Sarandon, a 19-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio, and then-heavyweight champ Mike Tyson.

Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, Fashions of the New York Times, Japanese and German Men's Vogue, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and Movieline's Hollywood Life. She has been an on-air contributor to VH1's Sexiest Movie Moments, Entertainment Tonight, and Inside Edition.

For the past fifteen years, she has co-hosted of the Woodstock Roundtable, a Sunday morning radio talk-show on WDST in Woodstock, NY. And since the inception of the Woodstock Film Festival in 2000, she has been the moderator of the Actor's Dialogue, a live interview which has featured, over the years, such noted actors as Lili Taylor, Stanley Tucci, Steve Buscemi, Liev Schreiber, Olympia Dukakis, David Strathairn, Marcia Gaye Hardin, and Peter Reigert.

She won a NYFFA Award in creative nonfiction, was the 1997 Philip Morris Fellow at The MacDowell Colony, and the 2003 Artist-in-Residence at SUNY Ulster, where she taught a class in memoir writing.

Martha Frankel lives near Woodstock, New York with her husband, woodworker and sculptor Steve Heller. Hats & Eyeglasses is her first book.

Martha Frankel

Books by Martha Frankel