Jerry Stahl
Stahl at the 2022 Texas Book Festival
Stahl at the 2022 Texas Book Festival
Born (1953-09-28) September 28, 1953 (age 70)
Pen nameHerbert W. Day
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter
GenreTransgressive fiction
Notable worksPermanent Midnight

Jerry Stahl (born September 28, 1953) is an American novelist and screenwriter.[1] His works include the 1995 memoir of addiction Permanent Midnight. A 1998 film adaptation followed with Ben Stiller in the lead role.

His works include memoirs, short stories, TV, films, and Novels. He wrote novels including Bad Sex On Speed (2013), Happy Mutant Baby Pills: A Novel (2013), and a short story Love Without: Stories (2007).

Stahl has worked extensively in film and television. He married Zoe Hansen on August 20, 2023.

Early life

Stahl grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] His family is Jewish.[2][3][4] His father, David Henry Stahl, immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union; he served a term as Attorney General of Pennsylvania and was later appointed as a federal judge.[5] David had previously worked as a coal miner.[citation needed]

At the age of 16, Stahl was sent to a boarding prep school near Philadelphia.[5] He attended Columbia University.[1] Post-college he traveled, living in Greece—in caves outside of Matala, on Crete, the streets of Paris, then London, where he landed a job as a bartender at an Irish pub.[citation needed] He later returned to America to live in New York City, where he became a writer.


Stahl began publishing short fiction, won a Pushcart Prize in 1976 for a story that first appeared in Transatlantic Review, and made a living writing for magazines and doing porn stories for cash.[1] One writing job as humor editor for Hustler meant moving to Columbus, Ohio and living at the YMCA until the magazine moved its headquarters to California. Stahl lost his job six months to the day after taking it and ended up on unemployment in California, alongside an escalating heroin dependency, which eventually led to his contracting hepatitis C.[6]

He would go on to become a writer for the 1980s TV series ALF, Thirtysomething, and Moonlighting.[1] In 1990 he would also write an episode each for Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure; his work on the former was described by series co-creator Mark Frost as "an absolute car wreck... He turned in a completely incomprehensible, unusable, incomplete script a few days late and as I recall there were blood stains on it."[7] He has also acted in seven films.[1]

Permanent Midnight, his 1995 memoir, was adapted by Stahl into a 1998 film of the same name starring Ben Stiller that raised Stahl's profile and set the stage for his ongoing work in film.[8] He wrote the screenplay for Bad Boys II, which starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. His novels Perv: A Love Story and Plainclothes Naked enjoyed moderate success. I, Fatty, a fictional autobiography of legendary movie comedian Roscoe Arbuckle received a favorable review from Thomas Mallon in The New Yorker and attracted attention from a variety of national media.[8] According to Stahl, Johnny Depp has optioned the film rights for I, Fatty.[9] Stahl edited The Heroin Chronicles (Akashic Books 2013), a collection of stories by various authors.[10][11]

Stahl has also written a number of CSI episodes which deal with transgressive topics and have been some of the most controversial but also gained some of the highest ratings.[12] He introduced the dominatrix character Lady Heather, who has appeared in a number of episodes, the first of which, "Slaves of Las Vegas", featured viewer discretion advisory warning, due to nudity and sexual content. Stahl has been criticised for his inaccurate portrayal of furries in "Fur and Loathing".[citation needed] However, while earlier episodes of CSI had been criticised for the treatment of transgender people,[13] his episode "Ch-Ch-Changes" was highlighted as offering a sensitive portrayal of the topic.[14] It also got the largest audience to date, 31.5 million, with his "King Baby" being the second most watched that season.[12] That episode dealt with infantilism and the Parents Television Council declared it was the worst television show of the week.[15]

Stahl and Barbara Turner wrote a screenplay for an HBO film about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn entitled Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.[16] James Gandolfini served as executive producer to the film, which was directed by Philip Kaufman and first aired on HBO on May 28, 2012.




Short stories

Multiple author collections


Film work includes:

As Herbert W. Day:


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Jerry Stahl". Literature Resource Center. Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. October 8, 2010. Retrieved 2013-10-24.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "StackPath".
  3. ^ "BN No Results Page".
  4. ^ "Greenberg". 16 March 2010.
  5. ^ a b McKenna, Kristine (November 21, 2001). "Death on the inStahlment plan". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  6. ^ Himmelsbach, Erik (October 19, 1999). "Celebrity junkie". Archived from the original on 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  7. ^ Dukes, Bill. Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks (Nashville: short/Tall Press 2014) p.188
  8. ^ a b Dreher, Christopher (December 6, 2004). "All my heroes were dope fiends". Salon. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  9. ^ Charles, Marissa (October 27, 2009). "Jerry Stahl". Metro. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  10. ^ "The Heroin Chronicles". Publishers Weekly. November 12, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  11. ^ Young, Royal. "Jerry Stahl talks smack". Interview. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  12. ^ a b Keveney, Bill (February 8, 2006). "Why Not 'CSI: Kink'?". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2012-10-17.
  13. ^ "CSI Sensationalizes Transgender Lives". GLAAD. January 25, 2002. Archived from the original on 2003-07-28. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
  14. ^ Lo, Malinda (May 9, 2005). "CSI's Mixed Track Record on LGBT Characters". p. 3. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  15. ^ Bowling, Aubree (February 20, 2005). "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS". Worst TV Show of the Week. Parents Television Council. Archived from the original on 2007-08-10. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  16. ^ Stanhope, Kate (June 16, 2010). "HBO Orders Hemingway Film With Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen". TV Guide.