HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Allen Rucker

Award-Winning Television Writer


  • The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life
  • Writing for Television
  • My Life in Television and Publishing
  • Facing Life's Ups and Downs - Like Paralysis - With Humor



Allen Rucker was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and has an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. in English from Washington University, St. Louis.

Rucker’s memoir, The Best Seat in the House: How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life describes his journey of navigating sudden paralysis due to a rare neurological disorder called Transverse Myelitis and was featured on the Montel Williams Show. He begins with an insider’s look at what it’s really like to work and survive in day-to-day Hollywood. His laugh-out-loud descriptions are interrupted with the painful account of the day in 1996 when he felt like he had the flu and then, suddenly, his legs ceased to work. From there, Rucker describes the ride from grieving, to healing, to acceptance, and how he managed to travel the unexpected path with his humor securely in tact. Parade Magazine said “Reading his no-holds-barred account of life before and after paralysis reminds you that The Best Seat in the House can be whichever one you’ve got,” and the New York Times called it “hardly sentimental...[a] savvy contribution...ahead of the curve.” Martin Mull praised Rucker for expanding his own condition “to encompass the human condition. At once hilarious, heart-warming, thought-provoking, the man in the chair is on a roll.”

Rucker is also the author or co-author of nine books of humor and non-fiction.  The Sopranos Family Cookbook, one of three books he’s written about the Sopranos, and the memoir co-written with country music star, Gretchen Wilson, Redneck Woman, were both New York Times best-sellers.

As a TV writer-producer, he co-founded the experimental video group, TVTV, and has written numerous network specials, documentaries, and teleplays, including the series, The History of White People In America, with Martin Mull; Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope (Emmy nominee); the original HBO movie, Hometown Boy Makes Good, starring Anthony Edwards; CBS: The First Fifty Years; Big Guns Talk, a history of the Western; Family Values: The Mob & The Movies; an adaptation of David Maraniss’ best-selling book on Vietnam, 1967, Two Days in October, originally broadcast on PBS’s American Experience in October, 2005. The highly-acclaimed program won both the 2006 George Peabody Award and the 2006 Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking.

Rucker is the recipient of the Dupont-Columbia Journalism Award, the Writers Guild Annual Award, and two Cable ACE Awards, among others. In 2005, he received the special WGA Joan Young Award for career distinction as a writer with a disability. The History of White People In America was honored by the Museum of Television & Radio in 2001 and TVTV was given a full MTR retrospective in 2004. He also teaches at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-TV. Rucker lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Ann-Marie. They have two sons.