Bret Easton Ellis Biography

Bret Easton Ellis is an American novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer known for his transgressional works. Born into a wealthy family, Ellis grew up in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley. His first novel, “Less Than Zero,” received critical acclaim and was followed by a sequel called “Imperial Bedrooms.” Ellis often links the characters in his works, as seen in his collection of short stories, “The Informers.” Despite facing controversy for its violence and sexual content, his book “American Psycho” is widely regarded as his best work. Several of his novels, including “Less Than Zero” and “American Psycho,” have been adapted into movies. Ellis has also written screenplays for films such as “The Canyons” and “The Curse of Downers Grove.” His novel “Lunar Park” received a World Fantasy Award nomination for Best Novel. Ellis has chosen not to explicitly declare his sexuality, believing that people’s opinions of him may influence their interpretation of his books.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 59 Years
  • Family: father – Robert Ellis, mother – Dale (Dennis) Ellis
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Bret Easton Ellis
  • Bisexual
  • Height: 6’0″ (183 cm)
  • Notable Alumni: The Buckley School
  • U.S. State: California
  • City: Los Angeles
  • Education: Bennington College, The Buckley School

Childhood & Early Life

Bret Easton Ellis was born on March 7, 1964 to Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and Dale Dennis Ellis, a homemaker. He was raised in Sherman Oaks in San Fernando Valley. His parents divorced in 1982. He was educated at The Buckley School. He enrolled for a music-based course at Bennington College in Vermont. There he became friends with writers Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem.

Career & Later Life

Bret Easton Ellis’s first novel was “Less Than Zero”. Published in 1985 when he was 21, and still in college, it is the story of disaffected, disillusioned, rich teenagers of Los Angeles. “Less Than Zero” was loosely adapted into a movie in 1987 by 20th Century Fox. He authored a collection of short stories called “The Informers” published in 1994. The stories have interlinked characters. He partnered Nicholas Jarecki, and wrote the script for a movie version of the stories. His 1998 novel “Glamorama” is a satire on celebrity culture and consumerism. It follows the story of a male model who becomes involved in a terrorist organization comprised entirely of other models. In 2000, his novel “American Psycho” was made into a dark, comic movie by Guinevere Turner and Mary Harron. It was released by Lions Gate Films. His “The Rules of Attraction” was adapted into a movie in 2002. Directed by Roger Avary, its star cast included James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Ian Somerhalder, and Kip Pardue. Bret Easton Ellis’ “Lunar Park” is a mock memoir with many characters being fictionalized portrayals of real people including himself, his father, and friend, author Jay McInerney. It was released by Knopf in 2005. His “Imperial Bedrooms”, released in 2010, is a sequel to “Less Than Zero”. It revisits the previous novel’s self-destructive and disillusioned youth nearly twenty-five years later as they approach middle-age in the present day. In 2013, he wrote the screenplay to the movie “The Canyons”. It is an erotic thriller directed by Paul Schrader. Set in Los Angeles, the movie stars Lindsay Lohan and James Deen among others. He is currently writing the screenplay for the movie “The Curse of Downers Grove” along with its director Derick Martini. It is based on the novel “Downers Grove” by Michael Hornburg.

Major Works

Bret Easton Ellis’ second novel “The Rules of Attraction” was published in 1987. It is a comic depiction of a few promiscuous and spoiled college students in New Hampshire involved in a love triangle. “American Psycho” was his third novel, published in 1991. The lead character, Patrick Bateman, is a serial killer and Manhattan businessman. The book created a lot of controversy for its violence and sexual content.

Awards & Achievements

In 2013, he won an award from the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in the Best Screenplay category for the movie, “The Canyons”. It is an erotic thriller directed by Paul Schrader, starring Lindsay Lohan.

Personal Life & Legacy

Bret Easton Ellis is known to be gay, and Michael Wade Kaplan, to whom he dedicated the book “Lunar Park”, was his lover. However, he does not identify himself as gay or straight.


This contemporary novelist took the title for his book “Less Than Zero” from Elvis Costello’s 1977 song of the same name. The sequel, “Imperial Bedrooms”, also takes its name from an album by Costello. This author’s book “Glamorama” inspired contemporary Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero so much that he wrote a composition for chamber ensemble entitled “Glamorama Spies” in 1999.

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