Charles Webb, a novelist, was born in 1939 in San Francisco, California. He attended Midland School in Los Olivos, California, and Williams College, in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1961, having majored in American history and literature. Two recurring themes in his work are coming of age and sexual awakening.
The Graduate, his first novel, was made into an enormously successful Mike Nichols film, although Webb has stated that he never felt comfortable with the attention the movie brought him because he felt it distracted from his status as a serious artist. His other novels include Love, Roger, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (also filmed), The Abolitionist of Clark Gable Place, Orphans and Other Children, Elsinor',' and "New Cardiff" (filmed as 'Hope Springs.')
"The Graduate," sold to the movies for a minimal payment, was never associated with Webb's novel in the movie's publicity nor particularly in the growth of its reputation. Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, the script writers, assumed credit for the work. They used much of Webb's dialogue word-for-word. Its Mrs. Robinson and "plastics" reference have probably found a permanent niche in American cultural history.
During the the movie's enormous success, the producer, Joseph E. Levine, offered Webb token recognition by an additional compensation of a $10,000. Although the book was one of the most telling American novels of the 1960s, and mainly through the film one of the most quoted, it is generally excluded from the literary canon of the period, as are his other books.
Webb currently lives with his partner Fred in Hove, East Sussex.
Fred, an artist, is his wife of 43 years, given name Eve, who shaves her head and calls herself Fred in a show of support "for men named Fred who have low self-esteem." Fred's illustrations highlight New Cardiff.