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Robert Graysmith (born Robert Gray Smith; September 17, 1942) is an American true crime author and former cartoonist. He is best known for his work on the Zodiac killer case.

Robert Graysmith
Robert Gray Smith

(1942-09-17) September 17, 1942 (age 77)
ResidenceSan Francisco
OccupationAuthor, cartoonist
Notable work
Zodiac (1986)


Graysmith worked as a political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969, when the Zodiac killer case came to prominence. He attempted to decode letters written by the killer and became obsessed with the case over the next 13 years. Graysmith wrote two books about the case, eventually giving up his career as a cartoonist to write five more books on high-profile crimes, one of which became the basis for the film Auto Focus (2002).[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Graysmith was married to Margaret Ann Womack from 1963 to 1973. He married Melanie Krakower in 1975, but they divorced in 1980; he directly attributes his failed marriage to his intense interest in the Zodiac case.

The film Zodiac (2007), directed by David Fincher, was based on his books and featured Jake Gyllenhaal as Graysmith.[2] Graysmith now lives in San Francisco.[3][4]


  • Zodiac. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1986. ISBN 9780312898953.
  • The Sleeping Lady: the trailside murders above the Golden Gate. New York: Onyx. 1990. ISBN 9780451402554.
  • The Murder of Bob Crane: who killed the star of Hogan's Heroes?. New York: Crown Publishers. 1993. ISBN 9780517592090.
  • Unabomber: a desire to kill. Washington, D.C.: Regnery. 1997. ISBN 9780895263971.
  • The Bell Tower: the case of Jack the Ripper finally solved. Washington, D.C.: Regnery. 1999. ISBN 9780895263247.
  • Ghostfleet. Washington, D.C.: Regnery. 1999. ISBN 9780895262714.
  • Zodiac Unmasked: the identity of America's most elusive serial killer revealed. New York: Berkley Books. 2002. ISBN 9780425183328.
  • Amerithrax: the hunt for the anthrax killer. New York: Berkley Books. 2003. ISBN 9780425191903.
  • The Laughing Gorilla: a true story of police corruption and murder. New York: Berkley Books. 2009. ISBN 9780425230145.
  • The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock's Shower. New York: Berkley Books. 2010. ISBN 9780425232316.
  • Black Fire: the true story of the original Tom Sawyer. New York: Crown Publishers. 2012. ISBN 9780307720566.


  1. ^ Booth, William (March 1, 2007). "A Killer Obsession". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ "Just the Facts: David Fincher's Zodiac". Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Sign Language". New York Post. February 14, 2007.
  4. ^ "From cartoonist to 'Zodiac,' author Robert Graysmith has prominent role in film". Army Times. March 2, 2007.

External linksEdit