Goldwyn: A Biography

Goldwyn: A Biography

by A. Scott Berg

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Samuel Goldwyn was the premier dream-maker of his era, and in this lavishly-praised biography, the author of Lindbergh and Max Perkins: Editor of Genius offers a life story as rich with drama as anything found on the silver screen...


Samuel Goldwyn was the premier dream-maker of his era, and in this lavishly-praised biography, the author of Lindbergh and Max Perkins: Editor of Genius offers a life story as rich with drama as anything found on the silver screen...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Samuel Goldwyn (born Schmuel Goldfisz) will be known throughout history for his films-which include The Best Years of Our Lives and Wuthering Heights-and his "Goldwynisms" ("I had a great idea this morning, but I didn't like it"; "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you"). Berg (Kate Remembered) was granted complete access to the Goldwyn archives and has produced what Goldwyn's son calls "the biography my father would have wanted." From his birth in a Warsaw ghetto and his 500-mile walk to Hamburg to his rise as tyrannical movie producer, this amazing rags-to-riches tale paints Goldwyn as a complex, difficult yet sympathetic character. (Oddly, Goldwyn's contemporaries, the Hollywood moguls Louis B. Mayer, William Fox, the Warner Brothers, Adolph Zucker and Lewis Selznick were all born within 500 miles of Warsaw and made similar exoduses to the United States.) McDowall's smooth, British-accented voice is a fine vehicle for delivering the narrative. However, his impression of Goldwyn's voice is distracting in its strangeness: high-pitched, heavily accented and cracking, it is the one flaw in this otherwise engrossing production. Based on the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Feb. 3, 1989). (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first 40 years, poor, Warsaw-born Shmuel Gelbfisz walked 500 miles to Hamburg, then from London to Liverpool, arrived in America at 19, became a U.S. citizen as Sam Goldfish, worked as a glove salesman, established a company to produce and distribute films and took the name Samuel Goldwyn. This comprehensive, amusing account of his private life and lengthy career as a Hollywood studio head--by the author of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius --depicts an often unscrupulous businessman, gambler, woman-chaser and inadequate father, who frequently burst into tears when overcome by emotion or frustration and who was married for more than 40 years to a charming, witty, tough-as-nails social lioness. The book is peppered with hundreds of Goldwyn's famous and infamous malapropisms, dozens of anecdotes about his critical and commercial failures as well as his outstanding successes ( Wuthering Heights ; The Little Foxes ; The Best Years of Our Lives ), and details of his relationships with, among scores of others, Eddie Cantor, Ronald Colman, Merle Oberon, Gary Cooper, George Cukor, William Wyler, Billy Wilder. This is a thoroughly engrossing book about an unadmirable man. Photos. 45,000 first printing; first serial to the New York Times; Movie-Entertainment Book Club dual main selection; BOMC featured alternate. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Among the legendary Hollywood moguls, Samuel Goldwyn occupies a special place, if not for his famed ``Goldwyn touch'' (indicating a film project with distinction) or his malapropisms, then for his fierce independence. He broke into the business in 1913 with partners Jesse Lasky and Cecil B. DeMille, but Goldwyn soon personified his most famous ``Goldwynism,'' ``Include me out,'' forming his own company. Among his classics (with director William Wyler) are Dodsworth , Wuthering Heights , and The Best Years of Our Lives . Granted complete access to Goldwyn's archives, Berg has produced a lively portrait which bears none of the earmarks of an authorized, sanitized biography. Recommended for all collections. BOMC alternate and Movie-Entertainment Book Club dual main selections.-- Thomas Wiener, formerly with ``American Film,'' Washington, D.C.

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Penguin Publishing Group
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18 Years

Meet the Author

A. Scott Berg is the author of four bestselling biographies: Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, winner of the National Book Award; Goldwyn; Lindbergh, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; and Kate Remembered. He lives in Los Angeles.

His new book, Wilson, a biography of President Woodrow Wilson, will be available Fall 2013 from Putnam Books.

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