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 Norris Church Mailer

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Norris Church Mailer

  • Original Name Barbara Jean Davis
  • Birth 31 Jan 1949 Atkins, Pope County, Arkansas, USA
  • Death 21 Nov 2010 Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
  • Burial Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 61979892

Literary Figure. A model, author, and painter, she is probably best known as the sixth and last wife of author Norman Mailer. Born Barbara Jean Davis, she was raised in poverty in rural Arkansas from age two, won her first beauty contest at three, and later attended Arkansas Polytechnic College. She was a high school art teacher and recently divorced single mother when she met Mailer at a Russellville, Arkansas book signing in 1975. Following a stint as his research assistant, she moved to New York and became a professional model, adopting, at Mailer's suggestion, the name Norris Church. She had a son with Mailer in 1978 and married him in 1980. Much of her life was taken up with caring for their children, and later for the great writer himself, though she found time to produce a significant body of paintings and to do some acting, with her credits including "Ragtime" (1981) and 1982's "The Executioner's Song". With faint encouragement from her husband, she published her debut novel, "Windchill Summer" (2000), a fictionalized account of growing up during the Vietnam years; it was followed by a 2008 sequel about a model from Arkansas landing in New York, "Cheap Diamonds". At her death, her artwork had received nine one-woman shows in various galleries. In 2010 Norris published her autobiography, "A Ticket to the Circus", in which she recounted her life with the often difficult Mailer (including temporary break-ups due to his infidelities, and how he avoided her upon learning she had cancer). She died after a 10-year battle with gastrointestinal cancer.

Bio by: Bob Hufford

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 21 Nov 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 61979892
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Norris Church Mailer (31 Jan 1949–21 Nov 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 61979892, citing Provincetown Cemetery, Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .