Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who is Julia Sorel?

Julia Sorel was a pen name of Rosalyn Drexler, a fascinating American pop artist, playwright and novelist. Her first novel under this name was a paperback original, Unwed Widow, published in 1975. Why Drexler chose a pen name for this is uncertain, for this book retains many of the qualities of her other titles published under the name Drexler. She also used the pen name to script several novelizations of films in the 1970's. Probably the most notable of these was an adaptation of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky (1976). Perhaps she was chosen as the author for this project based on her book To Smithereens (1973), which was a humorous novel based on Drexler's own experience as a lady wrestler. She also wrote the novelizations of three other films, all made-for-tv movies. They are Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and its sequel Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn. Both deal with the subject of teenage runaways and prostitution. Again, Drexler was a great candidate to write these novelizations. The subject matter was not too far from Drexler's first novel I Am The Beautiful Stranger (1965) a novel written in diary form of the sexual coming-of-age of a 13 year old girl. The other made-for-tv movie adaptation was See How She Runs, a sort of female Rocky, that starred Joanne Woodword as a middle aged woman determined to run the Boston Marathon.

Andy Warhol made a series of silkscreen paintings based on photos of Drexler dressed as a wrestler. She also made sculptures and pop art paintings and collages that have been exhibited at a number of prestigious New York art galleries. Two of these paintings were used as the cover images to Drexler's novels shown below. The 1980 film, Below The Belt, was based on Drexler's book To Smithereens.

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