Robert James Waller

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Robert James Waller
Robert James Waller.jpg
Robert James Waller Jr.

(1939-08-01)August 1, 1939
DiedMarch 10, 2017(2017-03-10) (aged 77)
Education University of Northern Iowa, BA '62, MA '64
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington, PhD '68
OccupationAcademic, educator, writer
Notable work
The Bridges of Madison County
Spouse(s)Georgia Ann Wiedemeier (1961–1997; divorced); 1 child
Linda Bow (2004–2017; his death)
ChildrenRachel Waller

Robert James Waller (August 1, 1939 – March 10, 2017) was an American author best known for The Bridges of Madison County , an enormously successful book in 1993. He was also a photographer and musician.

<i>The Bridges of Madison County</i> 1992 best-selling novel by Robert James Waller

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling romance novella by American writer Robert James Waller that tells the story of a married but lonely Italian-American woman living on a 1960s Madison County, Iowa, farm. While her husband and children are away at the State Fair, she engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington, who is visiting Madison County to create a photographic essay on the covered bridges in the area. The novel is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional. The novel is one of the bestselling books of the 20th century, with 60 million copies sold worldwide. It has also been adapted into a feature film in 1995 and a musical in 2013.



Robert James Waller Jr. was born in Charles City, Iowa, and grew up in Rockford, Iowa. [1] Waller received his BA ('62) and MA ('64) from University of Northern Iowa (then known as Iowa State Teachers College). [2] He received his PhD in business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington in 1968.

Charles City, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

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Rockford, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

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University of Northern Iowa university in Cedar Falls, Iowa, United States

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is a public university in Cedar Falls, Iowa. UNI offers more than 90 majors across the colleges of Business Administration, Education, Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences and graduate college. The fall 2019 enrollment was 10,497. More than 88 percent of its students are from the state of Iowa.

Later that year he returned to UNI and began teaching management and economics, and in 1977 became a full professor. He became dean of the College of Business in 1980 and retired from that position in 1986. It was announced in 2000 that he made a "seven figure" donation to Indiana University. [3]

Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County which was the top best-seller in 1993. Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze , have been made into motion pictures.

Puerto Vallarta Squeeze book by Robert James Waller

Puerto Vallarta Squeeze is a novel by Robert James Waller, which was made into a film in 2004. Originally published in 1995 and subtitled The Run for el Norte, this unlikely romance follows an American expatriate and his Mexican girlfriend on a road trip with a former Marine. The title itself may refer to the race-against-time journey that they take, which begins in Puerto Vallarta.

Personal life

In 1997, his marriage of 35 years to Georgia ended in divorce.

An article in People Magazine noted, "The parallels between Waller's life and his art—his Bridges heroine, farmwife Francesca, sacrifices her chance for happiness with a globe-hopping photographer in order to stay home and shield her loved ones from small-town scandal—haven't been lost on the locals". [4]


Waller died on March 10, 2017, at his home in Fredericksburg, Texas. He was 77 and had been battling multiple myeloma. [5]

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Multiple myeloma A myeloid neoplasm that is located in the plasma cells in bone marrow.

Multiple myeloma (MM), also known as plasma cell myeloma, is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which normally produces antibodies. Often, no symptoms are noticed initially. As it progresses, bone pain, bleeding, frequent infections, and anemia may occur. Complications may include amyloidosis.






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<i>The Bridges of Madison County</i> (film) 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Clint Eastwood

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1995 American romantic drama film based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Robert James Waller. It was produced by Amblin Entertainment and Malpaso Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment. The film was produced and directed by Clint Eastwood with Kathleen Kennedy as co-producer and the screenplay was adapted by Richard LaGravenese. The film is about an Italian war bride, Francesca, who lives with her husband and two children on a farm in Iowa. In 1965, she meets a National Geographic photographer named Robert (Eastwood) and has a four-day extramarital affair with him that changes both of their lives forever. The film earned $182 million worldwide and was well received by critics. Streep received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination in 1996 for her performance in the film.

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<i>The Bridges of Madison County</i> (musical) musical

The Bridges of Madison County is a musical, based on Robert James Waller's 1992 novel, with a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The musical premiered on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 20, 2014, and closed on May 18, 2014. The Broadway production was directed by Bartlett Sher and starred Kelli O'Hara as Francesca and Steven Pasquale as Robert. Brown's work on the musical won the 2014 Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations after the Broadway production had already closed.

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  1. 1 2 "Robert James Waller, Author of 'The Bridges of Madison County', Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  2. "Famous UNI Alumni". Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa . Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  3. Author Waller leaves large estate gift to alma mater,; accessed March 10, 2017.
  4. Gliatto, Tom. "Burning Bridges". People. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  5. "'Bridges of Madison County' author Robert James Waller dies at 77". Los Angeles Times . March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  6. "Images". amazon. Retrieved May 17, 2011.