Author. Composer. Orchestral director. Script writer. There is little that Somtow Papinian Sucharitkul is not. George Axelrod, writer of Breakfast at Tiffany's, called him "the J.D. Salinger of Siam." The International Herald Tribune referred to him as "the most well-known expatriate Thai in the world."
Born in Bangkok on December 30, 1952 as a great-nephew of Queen Indrasaksachi, King Rama VI's wife, Somtow grew up in Europe, and at the age of 11 he wrote a poem which Shirley MacLaine used in her autobiography, not knowing about its origin. He went to Eton and Cambridge colleges, and in his 20s he started a musical career. His first composition was the half-Thai, half-Western Views from the Golden Mountain in 1975. His directing the Bangkok Opera Society from 1977 to 1978, and especially his position as the artistic director of the Asian Composer's Expo 1978, in connection with his avant-garde compositions, led to a lot of controversies, and a case of musical burnout soon after had him try another field, that of writing.
He started with sci-fi novels, but soon moved on to horror, his most famous books being Vampire Junction, the Riverrun trilogy, and the semi-autobiographical Jasmine Nights. In the early 80s, he began to use the pen name S. P. Somtow.
The late 80s and early and mid-90s saw him in the movie business. In 1989, he released the blood-soaked low budget horror cult movie The Laughing Dead which he had written, directed, composed and performed the score for, and which starred him as well as his sister Premika Eaton. The same year saw the premiere of the one Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode he wrote, The Carpetsnaggers. His award-winning 1994 movie Ill Met By Moonlight, not to be confused with the 1957 movie of the same name, is a gothic-punk adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Later times saw him busy in both music and literature. He ditched his earlier avant-garde attitude in favor of a neo-Romantic style as he wrote the ballet Kaki, five symphonies, several film scores, the memorial piece Requiem: In Memoriam 9/11, and three operas, a fourth being worked on and scheduled to premiere in November 2007. He is also a renowned orchestra director and the artistic director of both the Bangkok Opera and the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also continuing his writing career. Both fields earned him a number of awards and nominations.
While Bangkok will remain his old home, Somtow found a new one in Los Angeles.
On May 2nd, 2009, Somtow joined the Acorn Cafe. He was the fourth cast member to do so and the first and only one so far who had to register.
Episodes written by Somtow Sucharitkul
SOMTOW.com, Somtow's official website