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B.F.A. in Drama, Concentration in Directing
Favorite Memory of T&D:
Dem Lab—the greatest teaching tool that could possibly be given to students of theatre.
Influential Professors or Classes:
Dr. Francis Hodge—a true mentor. He made my experience at UT Drama and I apply lessons from his directing classes into everyday life and my work today—even if its not theatre! I also have fond memories of working with the E. P. Conkle Workshop for Playwrights during the summer seasons. Both Webster Smalley and Frank Gagliano were instrumental in bringing the students a taste of professional theatre during those terrific summers. Finally, I remember James Moll as being supportive of my work as a director; he tended to give me the casts I wanted for Dem Labs and special projects!
Currently Living In:
Buffalo Grove, Illinois
In 1996, Raymond Benson was commissioned by the James Bond literary copyright holders to take over writing the 007 novels. His first entry in the series, Zero Minus Ten, was published in 1997 and serialized in Playboy Magazine, and a 2007 short story (“Blast From the Past”) appeared in the January 1997 issue of Playboy. Subsequent Bond novels were The Facts of Death (1998, also excerpted in Playboy), High Time to Kill (1999), Doubleshot (2000, and excerpted in Playboy), Never Dream of Dying (2001), and The Man with the Red Tattoo (2002). Raymond's novelizations of the Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day were also published in 1997, 1999, and 2002, respectively. His book The James Bond Bedside Companion was first published in 1984 and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award by Mystery Writers of America for Best Biographical/Critical Work.
Raymond has also written non–Bond novels: Face Blind (2003) and Evil Hours (2004), both published by Twenty First Century Publishers Ltd. His most recent work, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (written under the pseudonym David Michaels) was a NY Times Paperback Fiction Bestseller. The sequel, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell—Operation Barracuda, was published in November 2005. His original suspense thriller, Sweeties Diamonds, was published in February 2006.
As a game designer, Raymond wrote and designed Dark Seed II, a sequel to Cyberdreams Inc.'s award–winning graphic adventure based on the works of horror/fantasy artist H. R. Giger. Raymond also wrote and designed the critically–acclaimed graphic adventure, Return of the Phantom for MicroProse Software, Inc. Prior to that, for Origin Systems, he wrote the screenplay and directed the story for the best–selling Ultima VII—The Black Gate. For Viacom New Media, Raymond co–designed and wrote the screenplay for a CD–ROM adventure based on the popular Nickelodeon show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? (winner—Newsweek Editors' Choice Award and Parents Choice Award for Excellence), and designed and served as associate producer for a CD–ROM based on the popular book and film The Indian in the Cupboard (winner—Digital Hollywood Awards for Best Children's CD–ROM Computer Game and Best Overall CD–ROM Computer Game).
Raymond also spent over a decade in New York City, directing numerous stage productions and composing music for many other shows, including Lincoln Center Institute's touring production of Charlotte's Web, the world premiere of Thomas Brasch's Paper Tiger, and Frank Gagliano's The Resurrection of Jackie Cramer. In 2005, his play Second Chance (co–written with Doug Redenius), was performed by Darknight Theatrical Productions in Chicago. He is the recipient of ten ASCAP Popular Music Awards. Raymond has taught screening classes and courses in film theory at New York's New School for Social Research, courses in “Interactive Screenwriting”at Columbia College Chicago, and currently teaches Film Studies at W. R. Harper College. Raymond is an active member of International Thriller Writers Inc., Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Media Tie–In Writers, a full member of ASCAP, and serves on the Board of Directors of The Ian Fleming Foundation.