Ernest Callenbach was born on April 3, 1929. He received a bachelor's degree in English in 1949 and a master's degree in English in 1953 from the University of Chicago. Two years later, after studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, he became an assistant editor for the University of California Press. He founded Film Quarterly in 1958 and edited it for 33 years. He also edited books on film for the university. He wrote several books including Ecotopia, Ecotopia Emerging, and Living Cheaply with Style. He died of cancer on April 16, 2012 at the age of 83.