Some people were born to ride. Aaron Sorkin was born to write. Ever since his theater days, Sorkin has shown a gift for sharp, witty dialogue and quirky, interesting characters.
Sorkin, who was born June 9, 1961, was involved in drama throughout high school, and in 1983 earned a BFA in theater from Syracuse University. Very shortly after graduation, he began writing plays, and in 1989 had his first Broadway production, A Few Good Men. Two years later, he adapted A Few Good Men for the screen. The success of the movie (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) led to more work in Hollywood.
Sorkin first ventured into television in 1998 with the dramedy Sports Night, about the trials and tribulations of producing a TV show (one loosely based on ESPN’s Sportscenter). Even though Sports Night received favorable reviews, ABC cancelled it after two seasons. Sorkin enjoyed much more success with The West Wing, where he further developed his signature style of dialogue: smart, both in its rapid-fire delivery and its often intellectual content.
Sorkin received eight Emmy nominations during the show’s nine-year run, winning four. Sadly for West Wing fans, the writer-executive producer left the show after its fourth season. His departure was reportedly precipitated by personal issues as well as disputes with NBC. In 2001, he was arrested and sentenced to a drug-diversion program after security guards at Burbank Airport found cocaine, marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms in his carry-on bag.
However, Sorkin returned to television in fall 2006 with NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which was produced as part of a $16 million development deal with Warner Bros. Television. The premise of Studio 60 involved creative types being brought in to revive a live sketch-comedy show very much like Saturday Night Live, a concept seemingly tailor-made for Sorkin’s signature style. Sadly, the show was cancelled after tepid ratings, leaving Sorkin more time to work on stage plays such as the The Farnsworth Invention, about the invention of television and movies including penning the screenplay for The Social Network, which won him an Academy Award.
Sorkin is a consistent supporter of the Democratic Party. He was married to Julia Bingham from 1996 – 2005 – the two have one daughter.