AUTHORS AS FRIENDS HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

Authors as Friends
One of the perks of being a published author is making authors as friends. Once Lee Marvin Point Blank made the light of day, I found myself becoming friends with fellow authors, especially those of the non-fiction cinema history variety. We’d meet via social media or at book signings and the result was often the bonding of kindred spirits.
Take for example Steve Stoliar. author of the wonderful book, Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House.

The cover of Steve Stoliar’s RAISED EYEBROWS, rendered by the great Drew Friedman.

We made friends on Facebook only to discover that we had more in common than our mutual interests. Turns out, Mike Hamilburg was also his agent for this great memoir and like he did with my book, Hamilburg got it sold when everybody else turned it down. Now that is an agent! Steve and I were able to commiserate about it at Mike’s funeral in 2016.

Steve’s signature when we met says it all.

By the way, Steve’s book, an amazing tale of his years working and living with the legendary Groucho Marx at the end of his life, has been optioned as a film to be directed by none other than Rob Zombie (!). The guessing game as to who will play the late-life Groucho has become the bane of Steve’s social media existence.

Another one of the ‘authors as friends’ I met via social media is the wonderfully talented and prolific, Brian Jones. We met when he backed me up on several political posts, siding with my appreciation of Hillary Clinton. I then discovered he had written about Washington Irving, George Lucas, and a bio that landed him a spot on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Dammit!), due to his worthy subject: Jim Henson.

My copy of Brian Jones’ wonderful biography, JIM HENSON.

Brian’s appropriate signature to me.

VERY much looking forward to Brian’s next project, an overdue biography on the legendary Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Suess. It comes out May of next year and I will definitely be reading it!

Not all ‘authors as friends’ are met by yours truly via social media. The now defunct West Hollywood Book Fair invited me to be on a panel of celebrity biographers. I was lucky enough to to be seated next to Jim Gladstone, author of The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life & Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer.

Jim Gladstone’s THE MAN WHO SEDUCED HOLLYWOOD, a great read!

Jim Gladstone’s signature in my copy of his Greg Bautzer biography.

Between the audience Q&A’s, we talked about our books, got to know each other, and a few weeks later he and his wife and my fiancé and myself are going out to dinner at Long Beach’s Parker’s Lighthouse. Turns out he’s a good guy and like all the ‘authors as friends’ mentioned here, is the creator of a terrific tome that I highly recommend.

All three of the aforementioned titles have something in common with Lee Marvin Point Blank. They are all bestsellers that are well written, well researched and have fascinating subjects. Check them out for yourself or if you prefer start with Lee Marvin Point Blank and work from there. You won’t be disappointed.
-Dwayne Epstein

 

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MITCHELL RYAN AT THE LARRY EDMUNDS BOOK SIGNING

Mitchell Ryan at Larry Edmunds Bookstore: For those poor unfortunate souls who missed last night’s book signing, here’s a bit of rundown of what transpired…..

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First, I said a few words about why I wrote Lee Marvin Point Blank….

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Then, owner Jeff Mantor played a DVD that I brought of some Lee Marvin rarities. It included trailers, ‘Making of’ shorts of some of his films, a cigarette commerical he did for M Squad, and even a clip of him backstage after winning the Oscar…..
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Then, we introduced a special guest, Lee’s Monte Walsh co-star and personal friend, acting great Mitch Ryan, who regaled those gathered with some great anecdotes and observations….

mitchsitting Those in attendance made some interesting connections themselves, and I include myself among them. First up, I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, Dyana Levinson…

me&dyana

This is what consider to be the really cool part. Several of those in the audience who joined us posed for a group shot….

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Starting from the left: John Gloske, author of a great bio on the unsung actor Frankie Darro. John was a great help to me putting together my bio on Lee as he was great friends with several of Lee’s costars. Next to him is yours truly followed by actor Ron Thompson. Does he look familiar? Ron was the star of one of my all time favorite films: Ralph Bakshi’s American Pop. He played both Tony & Pete in the cult animation classic. Next to Ron is Claudette Sutherland, veteran actress, personal manager, and friend of Mitch Ryan. Ron and Claudette were both there by chance, had not seen each other in years, and actually were in high school together! How’s that for cool? And of course, on the right, the great Mitch Ryan!

Owner Jeff Mantor, with his back to the camera, made sure there were enough copies of books to go around, be sold, and signed by the author, as well as the extra treat of having it signed by Mr. Ryan….
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Also in attendance were several other notables, such as….

candidgroup2 Film producer, Chris Chesser (Major League, Kansas), pictured in profile on the far right. He told of growing up in Arizona and being amazed at the filming of Monte Walsh.

Also present, good friend and fellow biographer Jim Gladstone, author of a great book on lawyer Greg Bautzer entitled The Man Who Seduced Hollywood. It’s a great read by the way and it is HIGHLY recommended! That’s Jim barely visble on the far right….
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And for me the best part of all? My lovely girlfriend Barbara, who’s birthday is this weekend, got to have dinner with and spend the night with a genuine movie star. Barbara had me take her picture with her childhood crush Mitch Ryan. For those who may not remember, Ryan played Burke Devlin on Dark Shadows. Two seconds after I snapped this pic, Ryan kissed her cheek. Now THAT’s a birthday present!
Barb&Mitch

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