Sharon Rosen Leib
She majored in English Lit at UC Berkeley and enjoyed a freewheeling, politically engaged, neo-hippie lifestyle – studying abroad in England, youth hosteling across Europe, and working on an archaeological dig and writing press releases in Jerusalem.
Alas, that all came to a screeching halt when reality bit and she decided to attend law school at UCLA. She pulled many late nights, passed the California Bar and became a Deputy Attorney General in California’s Department of Justice. Immersing in the dark side of human nature as a criminal lawyer took a toll on her make-love-not-war soul. So after the birth of her third daughter, she abandoned the law for freelance journalism.
Her work has appeared in multiple media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, NPR’s “California Dreaming” series, The Forward, Times of Israel and the nonfiction anthology “Seder Stories”.
Her recent essays about Hollywood’s Jewish founders went global – translated into Spanish, French, German and Hebrew and were referenced by multiple publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone.
She appeared in two short documentary films distributed by 20th Century Fox and at the 2022 Turner Classic Movies film festival in Hollywood discussing the life of her great-grandfather, Sol M. Wurtzel, a pioneer movie producer who developed the talents of Shirley Temple, Rita Hayworth, John Ford and many other luminaries.
Over the past decade, she won multiple San Diego Press Club awards. In 2021, the American Jewish Press Association recognized her work with a 1st Place Award for General Excellence – Best Freelancer.
Sharon loves nothing more than walking the beach; keeping up with the news; and laughing, exploring the world and cooking/eating with family and friends. She takes immense pleasure in watching her three daughters grow into kind, engaged and self-assured adults who no longer consider her an embarrassment. On the cusp of 60, she considers herself damn lucky.
“Writers are the opposite of silence.”
Five Things to Know About Me:
Any regrets about going to law school?
Law school taught me essential advocacy skills.
As a young Deputy Attorney General, I had the rare opportunity to argue two cases before the California Supreme Court. Proud to say I won both.
I also honed my writing skills and learned how to get to the heart of a matter without wasting words. Judges get impatient and I didn’t want to tick them off!
Your best volunteer experience?
What did your parents teach you?
My mother, the granddaughter of a near-bankrupt movie mogul, was a self-described hedonist. She always reminded me “All work and no play, a dull girl makes.”
Both my parents died in their 60s (Dad at 63, Mom at 68) of rare forms of cancer.
Lessons learned: life can be short, work hard and do your best, but make plenty of time for family, friends, good food and travel.
How do you like your criticism?
Most embarrassing moment?
Lesson learned: I’m not as smart (5th grade math is tough) or as coordinated as a 5th grader!