Lillian Ross was born Lillian Rosovsky to a Jewish American family in Syracuse, New York and raised in Brooklyn. She joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1945, beginning as a reporter for the Talk of the Town column. Over the course of her career, she wrote hundreds of pieces, contributing to nearly every section of the magazine. In 1951, she went to Hollywood to cover the filming of The Red Badge of Courage, directed by John Huston. Her resulting article “Picture,” was considered a breakthrough work, the first piece of factual reporting written in the form of a novel. After it appeared in five parts in The New Yorker in 1952, it was published in book form later that year. Other Talk of the Town pieces were collected in two books, Talk Stories, (1966) and Takes (1983). Other books made up of collections of Ross’s articles included Portrait of Hemingway (1961), The Player (with her sister Helen Ross, 1962), Adlai Stevenson (1966), and Moments with Chaplin, (1980). She also wrote a novel, Vertical and Horizontal (1963). With the exception of her memoir Here But Not Here (1998), she rarely discussed her private life. The book revealed that she had an affair from 1950 until his death in 1992 with William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker.