Fran Ross was born in 1935 and grew up in Philadelphia. She graduated from high school when she was fifteen years old and went onto study Communications, Journalism, and Theatre at Temple University. She moved to New York in 1960, where she worked as a proofreader and journalist. Oreo was originally published in 1974 during the height of the Black Power Movement. She then moved to Los Angeles to write comedy for Richard Pryor. She died in 1985 in New York.