Norris Church Mailer (born Barbara Jean Davis in 1949) died at her home in Brooklyn Heights, New York at 10:55 AM on November 21, 2010. At her bedside were her two sons, Matthew Mailer and John Buffalo Mailer. Besides her two sons, she is survived by her mother, Gaynell Davis, two grandchildren, Mattie James and Jackson Kingsley, and her seven step-children, Susan, Danielle, Elizabeth, Kate, Michael, Stephen, and Maggie. Mrs. Mailer was the wife of late author Norman Mailer who died on November 10, 2007.
She recently published a memoir of her life entitled and is the author of two novels, Windchill Summer and Cheap Diamonds.
Mrs. Mailer was born January 31, 1949 in Washington State but grew up in Atkins, Arkansas. She married Larry Norris in 1969, gave birth to a son, Matthew, in 1971, and was divorced in 1974.
In 1975, she was living in Russellville, Arkansas where she taught high-school art; she had written about a hundred pages toward a novel (which she would later reshape into “Windchill Summer”, and publish in 2000). She had read Norman Mailer’s biography of Marilyn Monroe, and arranged in 1975 to attend an Arkansas party arranged for him, where she met the author. Subsequently, they dated, had one son who they named John Buffalo in 1978, and were married in New York city in 1980. She took on as first name her former married name, “Norris”, and took Mailer’s suggestion of “Church”, evoking her intensive religious upbringing, as a surname. In later years she attended the Actors studio and became an actress and playwright. She soon became the artistic director of the Provincetown Repertory Theater, and she continued to develop into an accomplished painter with exhibitions throughout the United States. In recent years she sat on the board of the Norman Mailer Society and was the Co-Founder of the Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony.
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