Native New Yorker Eleanor Bergstein began her creative life as a dancer, participating in racy mambo competitions during her parents' yearly vacations to the Catskills when she was a teenager. The controversial hobby was known as "dirty dancing," and the hobby would later have a prominent role in Bergstein's career. She began writing novels as an adult and later transitioned to film, writing the screenplay for It's My Turn, which starred Michael Douglas. While the film was shooting, producers cut a sexy dance sequence from the movie, and Bergstein was struck with the idea to devote a whole film to the saucy dancing from her youth. Bergstein drew from her own experiences to write and co-produce 1987's Dirty Dancing, and the movie became a major hit. She would later return to film to write and produce 1995's Let It Be Me, before revamping Dirty Dancing as a stage musical in 2008.