The daughter of Rose and Robert Susan, Jacqueline Susann (her mother added an “n” to encourage proper pronunciation) received early encouragement for her writing but was determined to enter show business as a performer. She debuted in The Women in 1937; small parts in minor plays followed. In 1939, she married Irving Mansfield. Failing to get a “big break,” she turned to writing; her first play opened in 1946 to disastrous reviews. Her son Guy, born December, 1946, was diagnosed as autistic and institutionalized in 1949. Still seeking acting success, Susann appeared in commercials and minor television roles throughout the 1950’s.