Jacqueline Susann was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Robert Susann, a portrait painter, and Rose Jans, a schoolteacher. In school, Susann was an intelligent but lazy student. She scored the highest on her class's IQ test, a 140, prompting her mother to predict that she would someday become a good writer. Susann had other ideas and instead had aspirations of being an actress. Susann's rocky relationship with her hard-to-please mother, as well as her starry-eyed view of her roguish father, would later be woven into her novels.
By the time Susann entered high school, she was dabbling in drugs and had earned the reputation of being a party girl. Although her parents hoped she would enter college, Susann left for New York City after graduating from West Philadelphia High School in 1936 to pursue an acting career.
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