Harold Robbins sold 750 million copies of his books, which included The Carpetbaggers.
Harold Robbins's real name was Harold Rubin and he was brought up in Brooklyn.
In The Advocate, July 9, 2002, Christian McLaughlin wrote:
"Harold Robbins wove an unhappy married homo into the dysfunctional tapestry of his automobile-dynasty potboiler The Betsy... But Robbins waited until The Lonely Lady (1976) to really go gay. Not only does he give heroine JeriLee Randall a queer best friend (How trendy! How 1999!) who encourages her to sleep her way to the top of the screenwriting business, but Robbins also exposes the lesbian interludes that all writers know are a must when climbing the Hollywood ladder." - Sex, sin, and sand: straight authors of "beach books" were never ...
Andrew Wilson has written Harold Robbins - The Man Who Invented Sex
According to Andrew Wilson, Harold Robbins, when writing about his youth, "invented, sensationalized, exaggerated, and elaborated, massaging the truth, shaping it into more and more outlandish forms, until it bore little resemblance to the reality of his existence." The Denver Post - Harold Robbins by Andrew Wilson
So what we have been told by Robbins about his youth and upbringing may not necessarily be true! It may tell us what Robbins would have liked to have been true.
Harold Robbins "started to smoke grass at eight and sniffed cocaine when he was eleven or twelve, the same year he lost his virginity to a prostitute. Sometimes men would come up to him on the streets of New York and proposition him. Did he want an ice cream cone? they would ask. And he would jerk them off for a quarter or a dime. 'I thought that was normal,' he said. 'I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.' He progressed to dropping by the matinees held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to make a little extra cash. 'You'd see two movies, and then the burlesque would start and the old men would come in,' he told Ian Parker of The New Yorker. 'And I would get a quarter to jerk them off. I didn't think it was a wild thing. You know, I made a dollar, a dollar and a half, and I had enough money for the day. The only trouble, now I think about it, was they didn't have Kleenex in those days. I had to go to F.W. Woolworth and buy a package of handkerchiefs.'" The Denver Post - Harold Robbins by Andrew Wilson
Harold Robbins told a journalist for the Advocate: "I was on a submarine, and if you're on a submarine for 22 days you want sex... We were either jacking each other off or sucking each other off. Everybody knew that everybody else was doing it. If you were able to handle it, you could get fucked in the ass, but I couldn't handle it that well. We jerked off too, but you get bored with that. You'd jerk off so you could relax and sleep. You'd start jerking off, and some guy would come over and say, `I'm gonna blow you.' So we did it, it was fun, and it was over." The Denver Post - Harold Robbins by Andrew Wilson