James Frey Biography

Journalist, Author, Screenwriter (1969–)
Writer James Frey wrote the book, A Million Little Pieces. When The Smoking Gun discredited the book as a memoir, he had to apologize on the Oprah Winfrey Show.


James Frey was born September 12, 1969, in Cleveland, Ohio. Frey was working as a screenwriter when he took a year off to work on his book, A Million Little Pieces, published in 2003. In 2005, A Million Little Pieces was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. Soon after, The Smoking Gun released a report discrediting the book as a memoir. Frey was made to apologize on the Oprah Winfrey Show before Oprah returned to say that she owed Frey an apology in 2011.

Early Life and Career

Writer James Christopher Frey was born on September 12, 1969, in Cleveland, Ohio. After studying at Denison University and the Art Institute of Chicago, Frey worked as a screenwriter, director and producer in Los Angeles. He took a year off in 1996 to work on his first fictional novel, A Million Little Pieces. The book was reportedly turned down by 17 publishers before he reworked it as a memoir. The new non-fiction work, a story of drug abuse and redemption, was published by Doubleday in 2003.

Scandal and 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

In 2005, A Million Little Pieces was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her monthly book club, causing it to become an overnight triumph with over two million copies sold. The hype surrounding the book led to increased scrutiny over its contents, most notably by The Smoking Gun, which released a report discrediting Frey and the book in 2006. The investigative web site reported that much of the book had been fabricated, including critical details about Frey's criminal record and rehab experiences. Frey first denounced The Smoking Gun and defended his book, but as the accusations began to escalate, he was forced to make a televised apology on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Nan Talese of Doubleday also admitted that her company failed to check the veracity of the memoir before publicizing it as such.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!