Ellis Amburn worked as a reporter-researcher at Newsweek before becoming a book editor at Putnam, where he edited John le Carré and Jack Kerouac. Amburn was also an editor-in-chief at Delacorte and William Morrow. He worked as a ghostwriter with Priscilla Presley, Shelley Winters, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Sammy Davis, Jr. He wrote several biographies including Buddy Holly: A Biography, Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story, The Sexiest Man Alive: A Biography of Warren Beatty, Subterranean Kerouac, and Pearl: The Obsessions and Passions of Janis Joplin. He died after a long illness on August 18, 2018 at the age of 85.