A twentieth-century American fiction writer, he is best known for two works published during the 1970s: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. His other works include The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story and The Ferret Chronicles.
After attending Long Beach State College, he worked as a technical writer for Douglas Aircraft and as a contributing editor for Flying magazine.
His short novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, sold one million copies the year it was published.
He married three times and had six children. His second wife was actress Leslie Parrish.
He once claimed to be a direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach.