John Wayne so despised Schulberg's negative depiction of the film industry in the book -- and, no doubt, Schulberg's left-wing politics -- that he reportedly attacked the author verbally whenever they met.
The encounter with Wayne was but one of many memorable incidents in Schulberg's life -- one that included coming to near-blows with Ernest Hemingway in Key West when Hemingway challenged Schulberg's knowledge of boxing; playfully sparring with Muhammad Ali in what was then Zaire; and accompanying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy into the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night Kennedy was assassinated.
Schulberg was born in New York City on March 27, 1914. His film scenario writer-turned-producer father moved the family to Hollywood in 1922 when Schulberg, the eldest of three children, was 8. Schulberg's mother, Adeline, became a leader of Hollywood society and later a literary agent.
First partnered with Mayer in the now-forgotten Mayer-Schulberg Studio near downtown Los Angeles, B.P. Schulberg became vice president in charge of production at Paramount in 1925.
The family lived in a mansion in the exclusive Windsor Square neighborhood. Schulberg was a timid child who stuttered, raised homing pigeons and wrote from an early age.
But he was a true child of Hollywood's elite whose playground included the studio stages and back lots of Paramount and MGM.
At Paramount, Schulberg and his best friend, Maurice Rapf, son of MGM executive Harry Rapf, played Foreign Legion on the abandoned fort from "Beau Geste." At MGM, they watched the filming of the chariot race for the original "Ben Hur" and, hidden from view, threw over-ripe figs at a parade of MGM stars, scoring a direct hit on Greta Garbo.
As Schulberg grew up, it wasn't out of the ordinary for Gary Cooper to take time out on the set to chat with him or for Cary Grant to drive up in his Model A roadster to present him with a new dog.
And Schulberg had to be the only kid in America who sold magazines on a street corner after being dropped off in a chauffeur-driven, custom-made town car modeled after an 18th century coach.
Schulberg captured those early days in "Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince," his 1981 memoir of his life with his film-pioneer father.
But the writer grew contemptuous of Hollywood, which the public may have viewed as the glamour capital of the world but which "B.P.'s little boy," as he was referred to, saw as a company town.
"If you were raised in Hollywood, it wasn't too difficult to get pretty angry at the world around you," Schulberg told People magazine in 1989. "People would come up to me when I was a little boy -- 11, 12, 13 -- an actress would want some favor from my father; a writer would urge me to say something about him. That was all around me. When they fussed over me, I knew why."
Schulberg's golden life tarnished in 1931 when his father, a gambler and philanderer, moved out of the house to live with his latest discovery, actress Sylvia Sidney.
By then, the 17-year-old Schulberg was working in the Paramount publicity department, writing fictitious biographies of the studio's stars.
After earning a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 1936, Schulberg returned to Hollywood, where he spent the next three years as an apprentice screenwriter for producers David O. Selznick, Walter Wanger and Sam Goldwyn. Among his assignments: writing additional dialogue for "A Star Is Born" and collaborating with Fitzgerald on the "Winter Carnival" script.
Schulberg had already published short stories in magazines when he moved to New Hampshire in 1939 to write "What Makes Sammy Run?"
In his later years, Schulberg lamented that his work had become "a handbook for yuppies," who had seemingly come to embrace Sammy's credo of success at all cost. "Going through life with a conscience is like driving your car with your brakes on," Sammy says at one point in the novel.