Born on December 28, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. Lived at 10 Argyle Street, Brooklyn until 1943.


Family moves to San Diego, California and soon after resided in Pacific Beach, California.


Attends La Jolla High School and starts to work for a local newspaper, The La Jolla Light, photographing high school activities and sports events.


Wins five High School Graflex Awards. Soonafter wins a Socialistic Sports Association scholarship to Pepperdine College, Los Angles, California. In the summer, works with photographer Andy Lopez for the Acme NewsPix, in New York city, as his photographic assistant. Begins publishing in Sport magazine and The New York Times writer Jacob Deschin labels Schiller “A Pro at Sixteen” in US Camera magazine


  Wins Scholastic Magazine Photographic Awards and the next year publishers his first photos in The Saturday Evening Post


Publishes first photograph in Life magazine; titled “Head Over Heals in Work.”


Photographs first playmate, Joan Staley, for Playboy magazine and thereafter publishes his first color photographs in Life magazine, of dancer Julie Newmar


With wife Judi Schiller, has first of three children, Suzanne, Marc, and Howard. In April, photographs Marilyn Monroe on assignment for Look magazine and in October-November, for Paris Match magazine, photographs Richard Nixon’s unsuccessful campaign for President of the United States.


Wins National Press Photographers Association and Encyclopedia Awards “Best Storytelling Photo” for photo of Nixon losing to John F. Kennedy


Photographs Marilyn Monroe on the set of Something’s Got to Give for Paris Match magazine and publishes his first Life magazine cover of Marilyn Monroe. Upon the death of Marilyn, the same year, he publishes his second Life magazine cover of Monroe.


Photographs the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, for The Saturday Evening Post, where he photographs Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. In 1964 Schiller wins numerous awards in the Picture of the Year Competition sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association, University of Missouri School of Journalism and World Book Encyclopedia. In 1965 he photographs Muhammad Ali–Floyd Patterson fight in Las Vegas for Sport magazine and in 1966, publishes his first major photographic essay on the indiscriminate use of LSD for Life magazine and publishes his first book on the same subject


Photographs Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign committee and in 1969 directs the still montage in the motion picture Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for 20th Century Fox film studios.


Photographs Paula Kelly for Playboy magazine, whereby the magazine publishes pubic hair for the first time. His copyrighted interview of Susan Atkins’s confession about her role in the Charles Manson killings appears front page in the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers.

 Photographs Barbra Streisand while collaborating with author Albert Goldman on a book about the late comedian/satirist Lenny Bruce, titled Ladies and Gentleman, Lenny Bruce. In 1971, Schiller directs the film American Dreamer, a documentary feature about director/actor Dennis Hopper, with L. M. Kit Carson. At the same time he directs the title sequence and still montages for the motion picture Lady Sings the Blues at Paramount Pictures.

First collaboration with Norman Mailer, on the book Marilyn, with photographs by twenty-four leading photographers. The book becomes a New York Times best seller. In 1973 Schiller publishes W. Eugene Smith’s epic photographic essay Minamata in book form—the first major photographic work on industrial pollution


Covers the Patty Hearst trial and becomes the editorial director for the Academy Award winning documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest.


Directs his first dramatic motion picture, Hey, I’m Alive, for ABC Television network.


Schiller concludes a series of interviews with Gary Gilmore and is the sole journalist to witnesses his execution in Utah. Thereafter he publishes an extended interview with Gilmore in Playboy magazine.


Collaborates with Norman Mailer on the book The Executioner’s Song, for which Mailer, in 1981, wins his second Pulitzer Prize; and the book becomes a New York Times best seller. Soon after Esquire magazine does a profile on Schiller. With his second wife Stephanie Schiller, has first of two children, Anthony and Cameron


Directs and produces the Emmy award winning television miniseries The Executioner’s Song; its star, Tommy Lee Jones, wins an Emmy for Best Actor in 1983, The Executioner’s Song wins numerious awards and is shown at the Berlin Film Festival.

1984 – 1988

Co-directs and executive produces the three-time Emmy award winning television miniseries Peter the Great. The film stars Maximilian Schell and wins Schiller the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries, among other awards. In 1987, Schiller is a delegate to the Moscow Peace Forum at which Mikhail Gorbachev announces the beginning of perestroika


The New Yorker magazine publishes Oswald’s Tale, Schiller’s fourth collaboration with Norman Mailer; the book becomes a New York Times best seller.


Writes the book American Tragedy with James Willwerth. It becomes a New York Times number one best seller, and reveals the inside story of O. J. Simpson’s defense. Vanity Fair profiles Schiller in a major article written by David Margolick. In 1997, Playboy magazine profiles Schiller with an interview written by David Scheff. Late that year he marries Kathy Amerman Schiller


Publishes Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, a New York Times best seller about the JonBenet Ramsey case.

1999 – 2002

Directs and produces three major miniseries for CBS Television from books he as written: Perfect Murder, Perfect Town; American Tragedy, and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story in Russia.

2003 – 2004

Directs and produces Trace Evidence, the Dr. Henry Lee series for television about thirty-four different crimes that Dr. Lee was primarily responsible for solving.


Schiller, begins the project of documenting China’s contemporary art history as told by its leading artists. (Portrait by Zeng Fanzhi)


After the death of Norman Mailer, with Mailer’s wife, Norris Church Mailer, Gay Talese and Tina Brown he organizes the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony, a not-for-profit educational institution.


As he heads the Norman Mailer Center, Schiller becomes a consultant to Annie Leibovitz, in the reorganization of her company and begins to write his autobiography.


Marries Nina Wiener at the Mailer home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 2012 Schiller publishes, with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday (a memoir edition) and TASCHEN (an art edition), Marilyn & Me, a chapter from his autobiography and opens his one-man show of photograpihs at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City.


Schiller releases one chapter from his autobiography, titled Marilyn & Me, and publishes it simultaneously, as a small memoir with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, and as a deluxe art book with TASCHEN which included over 130 of his photographs. Click here to watch the video