Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer was born in Vienna, the daughter of an actress at the Vienna Burgtheater. She attended the gymnasium (high school) established by Eugenie Schwarzwald. In 1919, she married Karl Frank, a journalist, politician and psychoanalyst, with whom she had a daughter, and moved to Berlin. She worked as an actress and part-time office assistant, and met Carl Zuckmayer, a playwright who hired her to copy out his manuscripts. After a divorce from her first husband, she married him in 1925 and had another daughter. She began studying medicine. However, after the Nazi regime rose to power, Zuckmayer's Jewish descent prompted the family to go into exile. They emigrated to the USA in 1939, and supported themselves by working a farm in Vermont. Both wrote accounts of their experiences for the German public. Alice's first book, Die Farm in den grünen Bergen (The Farm in the Green Mountains, 1949), became a bestseller in Germany. Other autobiographical books followed, including Das Kästchen. Die Geheimnisse einer Kindheit (The Box: The Secrets of a Childhood, 1962) and Das Scheusal. Die Geschichte einer sonderbaren Erbschaft (The Monster: The Story of a Strange Inheritance, 1972). Later, she moved with her husband to Switzerland.