Sidney Sheldon who won awards in three careers — Broadway theater, movies, television — then at age 50 turned to writing best-selling novels about stalwart women who triumph in a hostile world of ruthless men, has died. He was 89. Sheldon died yesterday of complications from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, said Warren Cowan, his publicist of more than 25 years. His wife Alexandra and his daughter, author Mary Sheldon, were by his side.''I've lost a longtime and dear friend,'' Cowan said. ''In all my years in this business, I've never heard an unkind word said about him.''Sheldon's books, with titles such as ''Rage of Angels,'' ''The Other Side of Midnight,'' ''Master of the Game'' and ''If Tomorrow Comes,'' provided his greatest fame. They were cleverly plotted with a high degree of suspense and sensuality and a device to keep the reader turning pages.''With the movie business hurting because of television's popularity, Sheldon decided to try the new medium. ''I met Patty Duke one day at lunch. So I produced 'The Patty Duke Show' (in which she played twins), and I did something nobody else in TV ever did. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series.''Another series, ''Nancy,'' lasted only a half-season, but ''I Dream of Jeannie,'' which he also created and produced, lasted five seasons, 1965-1970. The show concerned an astronaut, Larry Hagman, who lands on a desert island and discovers a bottle containing a beautiful, 2,000-year-old genie, Barbara Eden. She accompanies him back to Florida and eventually marries her.''During the last year of 'I Dream of Jeannie,' I decided to try a novel,'' he said in 1982. ''Each morning from 9 until noon, I had a secretary at the studio take all calls. I mean every single call. I wrote each morning — or rather, dictated — and then I faced the TV business.''The result was ''The Naked Face,'' which was scorned by book reviewers and sold 21,000 copies in hardcover. The novel found a mass market in paperback, reportedly selling 3.1 million. Thereafter Sheldon became a habituĂ© of best-seller lists, often reigning on top. Sheldon prided himself in the authenticity of his novels. He remarked in 1987: ''If I write about a place, I have been there. If I write about a meal in Indonesia, I have eaten there in that restaurant. I don't think you can fool the reader.''For ''Windmills of the Mind,'' which dealt with the CIA, he interviewed former CIA chief Richard Helms, traveled to Argentina and Romania and spent a week in Junction City, Kan., where the heroine had lived. Having won a Tony, an Oscar and an Emmy (for ''I Dream of Jeannie'').
Sidney Sheldon's 'I Dream Of Jeannie'
Larry Hagman And Barbara Eden Stared