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When Hollywood Had a King The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence (Paperback)

Author:  Connie Bruck
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Learn more about When Hollywood Had a King:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0812972171
ISBN-13: 9780812972177
Sku: 36378224
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 7.75H x 5.5L x 1.25T
Pages:  528
Age Range:  NA
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In "When Hollywood Had a King, the distinguished journalist Connie Bruck tells the sweeping story of MCA and its brilliant leader, a man who transformed the entertainment industry-- businessman, politician, tactician, and visionary Lew Wasserman.

The Music Corporation of America was founded in Chicago in 1924 by Dr. Jules Stein, an ophthalmologist with a gift for booking bands. Twelve years later, Stein moved his operations west to Beverly Hills and hired Lew Wasserman. From his meager beginnings as a movie-theater usher in Cleveland, Wasserman ultimately ascended to the post of president of MCA, and the company became the most powerful force in Hollywood, regarded with a mixture of fear and awe.
In his signature black suit and black knit tie, Was-serman took Hollywood by storm. He shifted the balance of power from the studios--which had seven-year contractual strangleholds on the stars--to the talent, who became profit partners. When an antitrust suit forced MCA's evolution from talent agency to film- and television-production company, it was Wasserman who parlayed the control of a wide variety of entertainment and media products into a new type of Hollywood power base. There was only Washington left to conquer, and conquer it Wasserman did, quietly brokering alliances with Democratic and Republican administrations alike.
That Wasserman's reach extended from the underworld to the White House only added to his mystique. Among his friends were Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, and gangster Moe Dalitz--along with Presidents Johnson, Clinton, and especially Reagan, who enjoyed a particularly close and mutually beneficial relationship with Wasserman. He wasequally intimate with Hollywood royalty, from Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart to Steven Spielberg, who began his career at MCA and once described Wasserman's eyeglasses as looking like two giant movie screens.
The history of MCA is really the history of a revolution. Lew Wasserman ushered in the Hollywood we know today. He is the link between the old-school moguls with their ironclad studio contracts and the new industry defined by multimedia conglomerates, power agents, multimillionaire actors, and profit sharing. In the hands of Connie Bruck, the story of Lew Wasserman's rise to power takes on an almost Shakespearean scope. "When Hollywood Had a King reveals the industry's greatest untold story: how a stealthy, enterprising power broker became, for a time, Tinseltown's absolute monarch.

"From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher:
A narrative history of the Music Corporation of America traces the entertainment giant from its founding in 1924, through its move to Hollywood and rise to become the most powerful force in the film world under the visionary leadership of businessman, politician, and media power broker Lew Wasserman.
Annotation:
Following the career of Lew Wasserman, Bruck traces the history and evolution of the MCA/Universal entertainment company. Wasserman, arguably the most influential man in the history of Hollywood, became head of MCA in the 1940s and began a reign that saw massive changes at all levels in the industry, everything from the kinds of pictures that were made to how their profits (and losses) were distributed. Based on interviews with Wasserman, a notoriously publicity shy individual, as well as extensive research that included analyzing a great deal of never-before-public internal corporate documents, this book tells the story of the man who has been called "the last mogul" and his company, an enterprise which, at one time or another, has wielded extreme power in almost every field of the popular arts.

Praise

New York Times Book Review
"[Gluck's] fascinating book, WHEN HOLLYWOOD HAD A KING: THE REIGN OF LEW WASSERMAN, WHO LEVERAGED TALENT INTO POWER AND INFLUENCE,'' is a methodical portrait..." - Bernard Weinraub 06/22/2003

Nation
"[A] thorough, balanced and insightful biography, which is likely to stand as the definitive account of Wasserman's remarkable career, due not only to the quality of her reportage but also her exceptional sources....[A]n absorbing chronicle of both a man and a company that adds immeasurably to our understanding of both....WHEN HOLLYWOOD HAD A KING provides a rich and evenhanded view of Lew Wasserman." - Thomas Schatz 06/30/2003

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0528
Product attributePublisher:   Random House Trade
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