Nancy Freedman, née Mars, was born in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of a doctor and a journalist. She began acting professionally in local children's theater at age three, and as a teenager, toured the country in productions of "Six Characters in Search of an Author" and "The Miracle" directed by Max Reinhardt. She attended the Chicago Art Institute, Los Angeles City College, and the University of Southern California. In 1941, she married Benedict Freedman, whom she met in Hollywood, where she was trying to break into the movies. He was an aeronautical engineer-turned-screenwriter. They had three children and began writing novels together. In 1947, they made their joint debut with Mrs. Mike, which became a bestseller and was adapted into a 1950 film. The couple co-wrote nine more novels together, and Nancy wrote more by herself for a total of about 20 works. Her solo books included Mary, Mary Quite Contrary (1968), Joshua Son of None (1973), The Immortals (1977), and Sappho: The Tenth Muse (1998). She was known for her extensive research and varied subject matter. At her death, Benedict Freedman said, "The bulk of her production could be characterized as ardently feminist."