Peter Benchley was born on May 8, 1940, in New York into one of America's most celebrated literary families. His grandfather was the humorist Robert Benchley and his father the novelist Nathaniel Benchley. A 1961 Harvard graduate, Peter Benchley started out as a reporter for the Washington Post before going on to work as an associate editor for Newsweek. From 1967 to 1969 he was a speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson. Benchley's interest in the sea, stemming from childhood summers spent on the coast of Nantucket, led to his meticulously researching the subject of sharks and writing such bestselling and critically acclaimed novels as The Deep, Whiteshark, and Jaws. Jaws was later adapted into a blockbuster movie (1975). Two of his other books were turned into the made-for-TV movies, The Beast and The Creature. He has also written numerous reviews and articles for magazines and newspapers, and has appeared in more than a dozen television documentaries about marine life and oceans. Benchley died from pulmonary fibrosis on February 12, 2006 at the age of 65.