Richard Hack (March 20, 1951) is an American writer best known for his biographical books and screenplays. He is a frequent guest on talk shows and an outspoken critic of bias in television news.
Born in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, Hack attended the Lynnewood School, and Haverford High School, on the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia. He later attended Pennsylvania State University and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Design.
Hack moved to Los Angeles where he was hired by TV Guide magazine as its West Coast national programming editor. By the early 1980s, Hack began writing the TeleVisions column for the daily entertainment trade paper, The Hollywood Reporter. During the next decade, Hack was instrumental in propelling the paper into a dominant position over rival Variety, and often appeared on The Tonight Show and Today reporting on Hollywood.
In 1990, Hack left The Hollywood Reporter to become Vice President of Creative Affairs at Dove Audio and Entertainment, a production company that specialized in miniseries and books-on-tape. While at Dove, Hack adapted Sidney Sheldon’s The Sands of Time, Memories of Midnight, and The Stars Shine Down as mini-series, which he also produced, and wrote his first book, Next to Hughes with Robert Maheu.
His bestseller Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters was released on September 11, 2001. Hack was being interviewed live on the Today show by Matt Lauer when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, and Lauer consequently had to cut their interview short to report on the ongoing events. The abrupt ending of their interview and the early reports of the attack from the Today show, is shown in a continuous loop, as part of an exhibit in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.
His subsequent book, PuppetMaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover was the basis of the 2011 film J. Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood.
However, two competing films about Hughes were in development at the same time. The other film was to have been directed by Christopher Nolan, with star Jim Carrey and financing from Castle Rock. Its script was going to be based on Hack's biography. That film was never produced. However, "Aviator" star Leonardo DiCaprio has referred to Hack's biography in interviews about the film.