After graduating high school in Fairfax, Virginia, Terrill moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to attend college. While studying business he worked for financier Charles Keating beginning in 1984. Five years later Keating’s company, Lincoln Savings & Loan, was the target of a federal investigation. Keating was sent sentenced to jail and Terrill was suddenly unemployed. At age 26, he moved back into his parents’ home in Northern Virginia and began his second career, as a celebrity biographer. His first subject: actor Steve McQueen.
With the Library of Congress at his disposal, Terrill spent the next three-and-a-half years researching the life of McQueen. In December 1993, the 564-page Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel, was released. The book, noted for its exhaustive research, was featured in numerous publications including USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Movieline, and The Arizona Republic. Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel became a best-seller and has gone into four printings. It also launched Terrill’s literary career.
Terrill moved back to Phoenix in 1994 and worked on as told to collaborations with actors Edd “Kookie” Byrnes and Barbara Leigh, boxers Aaron Pryor, Ken Norton and Earnie Shavers, and hoops legend David Thompson.
In 1999, Terrill was hired by the East Valley Tribune as a daily reporter and stayed there for more than a decade. He reported on entertainment, civic and business issues.
He and his wife Zoe also co-authored Sergeant Presley in 2002 with Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield. The book was about Elvis Presley’s two-year stint in the Army (1958-1960) and is now in production as a feature film.
Terrill was hired in 2008 by Arizona State University’s Public Affairs Division promoting the university’s campus in downtown Phoenix.
2005 saw the 25th anniversary of Steve McQueen’s death and with it came another re-examination of his life and work. London-based Plexus publishing updated Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel, with a new beginning and end chapter. That same year, Terrill met McQueen’s last wife and widow, Barbara, and the two began working on an as told to memoir/photo book.
In October 2006, Terrill released Maravich, co-authored by Wayne Federman, an exhaustively researched biography on basketball great “Pistol” Pete Maravich. The book took seven years to research and write and was done with the cooperation of Jackie Maravich, the athlete’s widow. Focus on the Family/Tyndale Publishing released the paperback version of the book in September 2008 with a new foreword by Dr. James Dobson.
Terrill also released that same year Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, which is a 250-page photo book containing more than 150 photos of the actor taken by Barbara McQueen. The book has been translated in Japan and Germany, with a French edition in 2013.
Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business was released in May 2007. Terrill co-authored with Sonny West, who was Presley’s friend and bodyguard for 16 years. West and Terrill spent four years perfecting the manuscript. The book was released in trade back in August 2008 and is now in pre-producition as a major motion picture. Terrill is also an associate producer on the film, which is called Fame & Fortune and is set for a 2013/2014 release.
In 2009 Terrill co-wrote Palm Springs à la Carte (Barricade Books) with businessman Mel Haber, who is the longtime owner of the Ingleside Inn and Melvyn’s restaurant in Palm Springs. The establishment has catered to celebrities, the jet set and captains of industry for almost a century.
That same year Terrill took a road trip with Ken Mansfield, the former Capitol and Apple Records manager and Grammy-winning producer as they traversed the canyons of Hollywood, the outlaw alleys of Nashville, and the backstreets of America for Between Wyomings.
Terrill released two Steve McQueen books in 2010: Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool (Dalton Watson Fine Books) is a 384-page photo/passage book that was released on March 24, 2010, what would have been McQueen’s 80th birthday. Steve McQueen: The Life and Legacy of a Hollywood Icon, (Triumph Books) is a 600-page plus bio on the actor and was released in November 2010 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of McQueen’s death.
In April 2011, the Hollywood Reporter announced that two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner will produce and star in a McQueen biopic based on two books by Terrill: Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legacy of a Hollywood Icon. James Gray, who wrote and directed We Own the Night, is writing the screenplay. The movie is set for a 2014 release.
Terrill’s 15th book, ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus: The First Five Years, is a history book of Terrill’s current work place. It was released in November 2011.
Terrill is currently working on a e-book, a photo memoir and anthology for the spiritual market.
Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/risky-business/jeremy-renner-forms-production-company-176975
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/books/review/Jennings_Jay.html
Entertainment Weekly: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20529002,00.html
Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2010/11/russell-crowe-in-eclipse-how-the-nature-of-hollywood-celebrity-has-changed-.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PatrickGoldstein+%28L.A.+Times+-+Patrick+Goldstein%29
Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/elvis-presley-movie-names-director-231461
Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2011/10/10/20111010steve-mcqueen-idol-storyteller.html
Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_17976300