A popular novelist, playwright, and newspaper columnist Cherie moves effortlessly from genre to genre, writing powerful and entertaining work, whether in literary hardcover teen fiction, mass market paperback fiction, for the stage, film and television, and for her nationally-syndicated teen advice column.
Cherie, Jeff, and their son Igor live in Salt Lake City, Utah, having moving here in the summer of 2004 after several years in Los Angeles.
Among Cherie's favorite non-writing activities are reading (memoirs are her current fave, as well as medical mysteries and show-biz stories), film and theater, cooking (she makes a mean roast chicken for Shabbat dinner), politics (she's a CNN junkie), and is an accomplished Internet shopper. She knows more about hair and makeup than average, and has been approached by at least one sister writer to assist in a makeover. Her favorite beauty websites are sephora.com and blissworld.com. Also, she swears by Makeup Alley (makeupalley.com ) as the best website for comparative beauty product reviews. In her next lifetime she plans to be MAC.
Cherie has writing and creativity in her blood. Born in Bufffalo, NY, she spent her childhood years in Michigan in the 1960s, the only girl in a show-biz family. Her father was a writer in the glory days of television, writing for such shows as The Twilight Zone, Route 66, and Sid Caesar's storied Your Show of Shows. He went on to become an expert in corporate quality management, joining the famous "Gang of 100" that created General Motors' innovative Saturn line of automobiles. Bennett's mother is an educator, and one of the better contract bridge players in North Carolina.
In addition to writing. Cherie is an accomplished actress and stage director, having directed her own work off-Broadway in New York City, and appearing in several New York plays and national tours. Writing was not Bennett's early focus. Educated in Detroit and Bloomfield Hills' (MI) public schools, she attended Wayne State University, and then the University of Michigan, as a musical theater major. "In all my time at Michigan, I never attended a U of M football game. When I told my husband Jeff this, he looked at me like I'd lost my mind."
Cherie is the middle child of three. Her older brother is a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, while her younger brother is president of a major institutional food service company, based in Cleveland ,Ohio.
She and Jeff have one son, Igor. Igor was adopted from Russia at age ten, and just celebrated his bar mitzvah. An outstanding student, snowboarder, and an up-and-coming skateboarder, Igor has learned both English and Hebrew in addition to his native Russian. For more information on the process by which Igor joined the family, Jeff wrote an article for ADOPTIVE FAMILIES magazine - see the "Links" section for it.
Following her time in Michigan, Cherie-like so many before her-went to New York City in search of fame and fortune as a performer. She worked frequently as an actress, doing several national musical tours, numerous regional theater productions including Mark Medoff's When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? and a well-reviewed turn in the off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton. She also headed her own improv comedy trio, Zaniac.
It was her experience in the theater that led her back to writing; not as a novelist, but as a playwright. A longtime country music fan, and fascinated by the family dynamic, Bennett sat down to write one night in her then-New York apartment. Several weeks later, her play Honky Tonk Angels was born. Featuring a group of singing sisters who dreamed of becoming Nashville country music sensations, and songs by country superstar Garth Brooks, this play was produced regionally and sold to TriStar Pictures in 1992.
Though already well-established as a playwright, Bennett leapt into the public eye with her Life in the Fat Lane, (Delacorte, 1998), a 1999 American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and one of the most talked-about young adult novels of the 1990s. Her book is about Lara Ardeche, a sixteen-year-old prom queen who gains 100 pounds in a single year. Then, her parents move Lara to a new city, so she is the new fat girl for her senior year.
Other serious novels followed: ZINK, ANNE FRANK AND ME (with Jeff) and A HEART DIVIDED (also with Jeff). Cherie and Jeff also wrote and write a fair amount of pop fiction. Sunset Island (Berkley) a forty-one book ground-breaking series that introduced such innovations as an overweight teen heroine (Erin Kane, Sunset Sensation) and an AIDS storyline (Sunset Heart through Sunset Spirit). Other series followed, both under her own name, their names, aand sometimes under pseudonym. Ssh.
Most every title can be found on her booklist.
Cherie often says that if she could write nothing else, she'd write plays. It's her favorite form, and she adores the excitement of the live experience of the theater.
Her 1996 smash hit Anne Frank & Me, about modern American teens, Holocaust denial, and the Nazi-occupation of Paris, was the first play in years with mainly teen protagonists to be produced off-Broadway in New York City. In a review for the New York Times, Lawrence Van Gelder hailed Bennett's story about a modern teen who could care less about the Holocaust as "an eloquent and poignant play that "deserves to be seen . . . . The impact is powerful." Anne Frank and Me has gone on to be published and administered by Dramatic Publishing Company in Woodstock, IL (as are her plays John Lennon and Me, Zink, Searching for David's Heart, A Heart Divided, Life in the Fat Lane, and Cyra and Rocky). That company administers and licenses all productions of these plays.
She and Jeff met in a New York City bar in October 19th, 1987 (thank goodness they were not heavily invested in the stock market on that day - they married in 1990). They have lived in New York City, Nashville, Los Angeles, and now Salt Lake City, Utah. Active members in their Salt Lake synagogue, and closely connected to their friends, Igor's school, Igor's friends, and the snow-capped Wasatch range they can see from their back deck, Salt Lake City is now truly home.