Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors
Hillenbrand, stricken since age 19 with chronic fatigue syndrome, is to this day often incapable of leaving her home. But that has not stopped the author, now 45, from turning out deeply researched books like her racehorse bio Seabiscuit, which spent six weeks as the nation’s No. 1 best-seller and has about 6 million copies in print. The 2003 film version, which grossed $148 million, received seven Oscar noms including best picture and adapted screenplay.
Her second nonfiction book, Unbroken, about Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who survived a plane crash in the Pacific and a Japanese POW camp, is outdoing Seabiscuit with 14 weeks at No. 1 and nearly 3 million copies sold. Wrote Britain’s The Telegraph of Unbroken, “If this doesn’t have Tinseltown’s money men weeping into their iced mineral waters, I don’t know what will.” Universal bought film rights in 2011.