Susan Sontag Birthday & Fun Facts

Height, Age, Net Worth, Biography & More

Akinwalere Olaleye
Feb 08, 2024 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Dec 06, 2023
The American writer Susan Sontag was also a political activist and philosopher.
Age: 1-99
Read time: 5.4 Min

About Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag, an eminent American writer, critic, and scholar, was born on January 16, 1933, in New York City. She rose to fame through her thought-provoking essays and novels. Her notable first work, the 1964 essay 'Notes On "Camp"', marked her as a significant figure in literary circles.

Her literary contributions are diverse and she authored novels such as 'The Benefactor', 'Death Kit', 'The Volcano Lover', and 'In America'. Additionally, Sontag wrote a collection of short stories titled 'I, Etcetera', and several plays, including 'Alice In Bed' and 'Lady From The Sea'. Her nonfiction writings, notably 'Against Interpretation', 'On Photography', 'Illness As Metaphor', 'Where The Stress Falls', 'Regarding The Pain Of Others', and 'At The Same Time', have influenced multiple disciplines.

Sontag's talents extended to filmmaking, where she directed four feature films: 'Duet For Cannibals' (1969), 'Brother Carl' (1971), 'Promised Lands' (1974), and 'Unguided Tour' (1983). Her life and contributions have been extensively studied, including in the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography 'Sontag: Her Life And Work' by Benjamin Moser. Susan Sontag passed away on December 28, 2004, in New York City. She left an enduring legacy of intellectual and cultural influence.

Susan Sontag: Net Worth, Earnings & Spending Habits

What was Susan Sontag's net worth?

As of December 2023, Susan Sontag's exact net worth at the time of her death in 2004 cannot be verified online.

How much did Susan Sontag earn per year?

Susan Sontag's exact annual earnings at the time of her death are not publicly available.

Height, Age & Physical Attributes

How tall was Susan Sontag?

Susan Sontag was 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) tall.

How old was Susan Sontag?

Susan Sontag was born on January 16, 1933, and died on December 24, 2004. She was 71 years old when she died.

Childhood And Education

Originally named Susan Rosenblatt, Susan Sontag was born in 1933 in New York City to Mildred and Jack Rosenblatt. Her father, engaged in the fur trade in China, passed away when Susan was just five years old. Following her father's passing, her mother, Mildred, along with Susan and her sister, Judith, moved to seek a better climate for Judith's asthma. This journey led them to settle in California. In 1945, Mildred remarried Nathan Sontag, a captain in the Air Corps, and both Susan and her sister Judith took on their stepfather's surname.

From an early age, Sontag displayed a deep passion for literature. She completed her high school education by the age of 15. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, but she soon transferred to the University of Chicago, where she graduated in 1951. It was there that she met Philip Rieff, a lecturer who later became her husband. Sontag furthered her education by obtaining a master's degree in English and philosophy from Harvard University and pursued additional postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne and Oxford.

Family, Romance, And Relationships

Who was Susan Sontag's partner?

Susan Sontag experienced several personal relationships throughout her life. Her first matrimonial bond was with Philip Rieff, a lecturer at the University of Chicago where Sontag was schooled. This union, commencing in 1950 following a brief courtship lasting only ten days, came to an end in 1958. From this marriage, they had a son, David Rieff, who is Sontag's only child.

Beyond her marriage, Sontag had relationships with various individuals, including Harriet Sohmers Zwerling from 1958-1959, Nicole Stéphane in 1970, and Joseph Brodsky. In 1965, she engaged in a short-lived relationship with artist Jasper Johns.

Among her relationships, the one with acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz stands out. Their paths crossed in the late '80s during a photo session for the publicity of Sontag's book 'AIDS And Its Metaphors'. This relationship lasted from 1989 until Sontag's passing in 2004.

Career And Professional Highlights

Best Known For…

Susan Sontag, a renowned writer, critic, and scholar, was celebrated for her insightful essays on contemporary culture. She became a notable figure in the literary world with her seminal essay 'Notes on "Camp"'. Sontag published the book in 1964, marking the beginning of her prominent career.

Sontag earned acclaim for her nonfiction, including 'Against Interpretation And Other Essays' (1966), 'On Photography' (1976), and 'Illness as Metaphor' (1978), alongside her novels 'The Volcano Lover' (1992) and 'In America' (2000), the latter winning the National Book Award. Before releasing her first novel, 'The Benefactor' in 1963, she taught philosophy at various colleges and universities.

Her artistic endeavors extended to filmmaking, with four feature-length films to her credit: 'Duet For Cannibals' (1969), 'Brother Carl' (1971), 'Promised Lands' (1974), and 'Unguided Tour' (1983). Sontag also authored a collection of short stories titled 'I, Etcetera' and penned several plays, including 'Alice In Bed' and 'Lady From The Sea'. Susan Sontag was one of the prominent contributors to The New York Review of Books, where many of her essays and reviews were published, further establishing her as one of the most influential critics of her generation

Sontag leveraged her academic thoroughness in her essays, covering a broad spectrum of subjects. She became a prominent public figure in the mid-1960s, with her works discussed in academic circles and popular media.

What awards did Susan Sontag win?

Susan Sontag, throughout her illustrious career, was honored with a multitude of awards recognizing her contributions to literature and culture. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her work 'On Photography' in 1977, followed by the prestigious National Book Award for her novel 'In America' in 2000.

Sontag's international acclaim included receiving the Jerusalem Prize in 2001, which acknowledged her narrative and essayistic books. Sontag was awarded the Prince Of Asturias Award For Literature in 2003, a significant Spanish literary honor.

Still, in 2003, Susan Sontag also received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. Additionally, the French government recognized her contributions to the arts by naming her a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1999, a promotion from her previous distinction as an Officier in the same order received in 1984.

Other Interesting Susan Sontag Facts And Trivia

  • Susan Sontag was born on January 16, 1933, which makes her a Capricorn according to the zodiac calendar
  • Susan Sontag served as a member of the Official Competition jury at the 28th Venice International Film Festival in 1967.
  • Sigrid Nunez authored a book titled 'Sempre Susan', revealing Nunez's personal experiences while residing with Susan Sontag and her son, David Rieff. This book presents a distinctive viewpoint on Sontag's character, her life, and the impact she had on the people close to her.

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Susan Sontag Birthday & Fun Facts Facts

Birth Name

Susan Rosenblatt

Date of Birth


Date of Death




Place of Birth

New York City


175 cm

Child Star?



Novelist, Essayist, Filmmaker, Political Activist, Teacher


Harvard University


Philip Rieff


Mildred Rosenblatt, Jack Rosenblatt


Judith Rosenblatt
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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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