Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Like a Twilight zone with Charlie Chaplin"–Mario Puzo

Writer, screenwriter, playwright, editor, actor, teacher: Bruce Jay Friedman has done it all, charming the glitziest industries of American golden-age culture for more than half a century. Lucky Bruce is his long-awaited memoir, and it's everything we'd expect and more: here is Friedman at his best, waltzing from Madison Avenue to Hollywood and back again, and reilluminating with brilliant ...

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Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir

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Overview

"Like a Twilight zone with Charlie Chaplin"–Mario Puzo

Writer, screenwriter, playwright, editor, actor, teacher: Bruce Jay Friedman has done it all, charming the glitziest industries of American golden-age culture for more than half a century. Lucky Bruce is his long-awaited memoir, and it's everything we'd expect and more: here is Friedman at his best, waltzing from Madison Avenue to Hollywood and back again, and reilluminating with brilliant clarity the dazzle of post-war American life.

Self-effacing, wry, sharp, and laugh-out-loud funny, Friedman details with lovable candor his friendships and rivalries with the greatest writers, actors, publishers, directors and personalities of the last fifty years. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Steve Martin and Woody Allen. He's a dynamo of comedy and a recognized master of American letters. And in Lucky Bruce, whether he's fist-fighting with Norman Mailer, explaining to Richard Pryor why there are so few Jewish junkies, or writing screenplays in a closet with Natalie Wood as his secretary, Friedman is the king of understated charm. With cameos by Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, Mario Puzo, Lillian Hellman, Warren Beatty, Marlene Dietrich, Brian Grazer, Candida Donadio, Crazy Joe Gallo, Joyce Carol Oates, Jack Richardson, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Kurt Vonnegut, and the irreplaceable Elaine, Lucky Bruce is moving, scandalous, and guaranteed to shed new light on the brightest of American luminaries ... with Bruce Jay Friedman bright among them.

Bruce Jay Friedman is a best-selling author, an Academy Award–nominated screenwriter, a magazine editor, a Hollywood actor, and a celebrated playwright. He lives in Manhattan, New York.


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Editorial Reviews

John Leland
"You'd think that someone born in the thick of the Great Depression would have a sad story to tell," Bruce Jay Friedman writes, "but mine isn't one of them." For the length of this jaunty, dishy memoir, Friedman makes good on this promise, spinning campfire tales from a career spent turning the written word into that uncelebrated but elusive commodity, a living. Some writers seek immortality and end up scarred and bitter. Friedman sought regular paychecks and occasional furtive embraces and ended up with a table at Elaine's. Boohoo. Whose memoir would you rather take away for the ­weekend?
—The New York Times Book Review
Dwight Garner
There's a bit of Larry David in Mr. Friedman…a bit of Joseph Heller and Nora Ephron and Peter De Vries and Calvin Trillin and early Philip Roth in him too…Mr. Friedman returns now with Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir, a buoyant book. He is 81, but his prose, in terms of its vigor, is still in its 30s. Lucky Bruce is about a kid from the Bronx who finds early literary fame; fritters away some of his prime years, dabbling in movies and theater; makes and loses a load of money; eats very well; has close and funny friends; sleeps with more than his allotment of beautiful women; and, agreeably for his readers, has a way with anecdotes.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
“A great comic actor, if he or she sticks around long enough, might win not an actual Oscar but a consolation prize: a lifetime achievement award. The National Book Award needs something similar for America’s comic writers. Among the first I’d nominate is Bruce Jay Friedman, whose prose, over the past five decades, has mostly been a pure pleasure machine. . . . There’s a bit of Larry David in Mr. Friedman . . . There’s a bit of Joseph Heller and Nora Ephron and Peter De Vries and Calvin Trillin and early Philip Roth in him too. . . . Mr. Friedman returns now with Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir, a buoyant book . . . about a kid from the Bronx who finds early literary fame; fritters away some of his prime years, dabbling in movies and theater; makes and loses a load of money; eats very well; has close and funny friends; sleeps with more than his allotment of beautiful women; and, agreeably for his readers, has a way with anecdotes.”—DWIGHT GARNER, New York Times

"Jaunty, dishy ... Highly readable."—New York Times

"Delightful ... one of those memoirs that's a large, refreshing pleasure, and worth pushing aside everything else to read."—The Longest Chapter

"A literary star, frequently mentioned alongside Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth ... In Lucky Bruce, readers get fresh, amusing stories from Friedman's life in letters."—New York Times Style Magazine

"Friedman tempers hot remarks with humor (often hilarious), and affection for friends and foes alike ... refreshingly candid ... never mere dish."—WSHU Public Radio

"Lucky Bruce is no ordinary self-story; it's a delightful addition to the catalogue of the last Mark Twain Leviathans—writers like Mario Puzo, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonnegut."—Brooklyn Rail

"In this rousing memoir, [Friedman] relates taking on Natalie Wood as a secretary, helping Barbra Streisand in from the rain, and gaining Mario Puzo as a close friend. yet Friedman is refreshingly down to earth. He shares his journey from the Bronx to Broadway with wit, charm, and a distinctive voice ... Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"A terrific memoir, informative and invigorating. As I was reading it, I found myself going slower and slower because I began savoring the humor, wit, and pathos." —Ha Jin

Lucky Bruce is a deeply funny memoir from one of the most deeply funny writers in American literature. Bruce Jay Friedman has written yet another masterpiece. —Andy Borowitz

[A] hilariously juicy memoir... A life story that consistently charms with candor and the seasoned wit of a master storyteller who’s certainly been around the block... [T]here are plenty of stories here to solidify Friedman’s ranking as a supreme satirist.—Kirkus

"A true testament to decades of hard work ... in true Don Quixote fashion, Friedman is fascinated by everything going on around him."—East Hampton Star

Kirkus Reviews

The hilariously juicy memoir of a successful novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

Though the hoopla of his literary career is in repose ("the lights dimming a bit") Friedman (Three Balconies, 2008) is happy to share the grand ascent of his longstanding writing career. The son of a fashionable father and a pretty, theatergoing mother, the author often lost himself in movies and books, sparking an early fascination with media, a journalism degree and two years at a military magazine while in the Air Force in 1951. Friedman penned a "blatantly autobiographical" first story and boldly submitted it to the New Yorker, which "manicured" the prose and published it. While serving as the executive editor of several male-focused publications in 1954, he met and married model Ginger Howard and started a family. Crafted in just five months, his black-comedy breakout novel Stern was published years later while his marriage cracked. In literary circles, the author fondly remembers befriending Joseph Heller, but it was Mario Puzo who curiously wanted Friedman's opinion on an organized-crime novel he was "moon-lighting." In between awkwardly hobnobbing in Los Angeles and schmoozing at Elaine's celebrity-laden Upper East Side enclave, Friedman hit the jackpot with several hit stage plays (Scuba Duba), box-office smashes (Splash, Stir Crazy) and a role in a Woody Allen movie. Whether inadvertently snubbing Marlene Dietrich, chauffeuring Natalie Wood or fist-fighting with Norman Mailer, there are plenty of stories here to solidify Friedman's ranking as a supreme satirist. Readers with a taste for sensationalistic old Hollywood will particularly enjoy his not-so-casual namedropping, which serves the memoir's chatty tone well.

A life story that consistently charms with candor and the seasoned wit of a master storyteller who's certainly been around the block.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926845548
  • Publisher: Biblioasis
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 275
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Bruce Jay Friedman: Novelist, playwright, short story writer and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman was born in New York City. Friedman published his first novel Stern in 1962 and established himself as a writer and playwright, most famously known for his off-Broadway hit Steambath (1973) (TV) and his 1978 novel The Lonely Guy’s Book of Life. In addition to short stories and plays, Friedman has also published another seven novels, and has written numerous screenplays, including the Oscar-nominated Splash (1984). He resides in New York City with his second wife, educator Patricia J. O’Donohue.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 23, 2012

    A fun book

    A fun, breezy bio by a man with quite an ego.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    Great Memoir - funny too.

    Lucky Bruce was a treat. What a life ! He mentioned hanging at Elaine's with Paul Desmond. On a recent CBS Sunday morning Dan Aykroyd mentioned how he met his wife, Donna Dixon, of thirty years on the set of Doctor Detroit , penned by Bruce Jay Friedman

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Lucky Reader

    Friedman's contributions to American literature and culture are not that great, but his memoir is written in a lively and highly entertaining manner. He was lucky to make a living writing and to have a terrific collection of friends and acquaintances. The lucky reader gets to meet them in this book. I enjoyed reading "Lucky Bruce" (really could not put it down). So I highly recommend it. (But BJF should know that there never was a Pontiac Grand Marquis. The Grand Marquis was a Mercury. The Pontiac was a Grand Prix. Also, never call the University of Missouri "Missouri University." Most call the school "Mizzou." As a grad, BJF should have known that.)

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