Les Roberts, the author of 17 mystery novels featuring Cleveland private investigator Milan Jacovich, as well as 11 other books of fiction, will speak at the Tallmadge Branch Library, 90 Community Road, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m.
According to Roberts' website, www.lesroberts.com, he was born and raised in Chicago, Ill. His father was a dentist and his mother a homemaker. His rather ordinary beginning led to a most extraordinary life -- author of 23 novels, close to a dozen short stories, eight screenplays and countless newspaper articles and reviews. He's most loved in Cleveland for the creation of his Slovenian detective, Milan Jacovich. He has completed 14 Jacovich mystery novels.
Roberts took a rather winding road to his final destination of Cleveland, a place he calls his spiritual home. Though he was already writing at just 6 years of age, he began his career as an actor in Chicago and doing summer stock in Taos, N.M. He then moved on to New York, where his writing began to overtake his acting career. He wrote for such classics as Candid Camera and The Jackie Gleason Show.
His next stomping grounds was Hollywood -- or The Hollywood Squares, to be more specific. Roberts was the first producer of the game show, and had the opportunity to rub elbows with the likes of Paul Lynde and Buddy Hackett. During his 24 years in Hollywood, he wrote and/or produced more than 2,500 half-hours of network and syndicated television, including The Lucy Show, The Andy Griffith Show and The Man from UNCLE, to name just a few.
Roberts' introduction to Cleveland came when he got the job of creating a lottery game show for Ohio. It ultimately became Cash Explosion Double Play. He moved on to create similar shows for Michigan and Illinois, but couldn't forget Cleveland. He moved there permanently in 1990 and says his years in Cleveland have been the best ever. It's where, he says, he's felt the most at home, developed the most significant and lasting relationships of his life and experienced the most success and fulfillment in his career. He's been twice nominated for both the Shamus and the Anthony Awards, and has several times been voted "Cleveland's Favorite Writer." He won the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature in 1992 and the Sherwood Anderson Literary Award in 2003. He is past president of the Private Eye Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League.
He writes regular book reviews for Cleveland's Plain Dealer and articles for the Currents section of the Chagrin Valley Times. He's also written some pieces for the Washington Post Book World, Northern Ohio Live and Cleveland Magazine.
With longtime friend and Hollywood legend Ann Elder, Roberts now co-hosts a radio show, Greenlight Reviews. They review newly released movies and suggest special favorites for their audience to rent and enjoy at home.
In May of 2009, Roberts was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Cleveland State University.
Despite all of these accomplishments, Roberts says he is most proud of his family -- daughter Valerie, and granddaughter Shea, who live in Aspen, Colo. and son Darren, his wife Anne, and grandson, Parker, who live in Redondo Beach, Calif. Roberts resides with a woman he describes as "the love of his life," Holly Albin, and a Maine coon cat named Isabel.
Seating is limited to the first 100.
Roberts books' "Whiskey Island" and "Win, Place or Die" will be available for purchase.
For more information, contact the library at 330-633-4345.