Name-Dropping: The Life and Lies of Alan King

Overview

"This is not going to be a tell-all book. My few dark secrets I'm taking to my grave," Alan King, ne Irwin Alan Kniberg, assures us. Instead, this is the story of how a son of Russian immigrants - who came to this country in steerage - grew up to live in a mansion that had been built for Oscar Hammerstein. Dropping names whenever possible, he tells terrific stories about Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Billy Crystal, the Kennedys, and dozens of other friends famous and not so famous. His life in comedy and show
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Overview

"This is not going to be a tell-all book. My few dark secrets I'm taking to my grave," Alan King, ne Irwin Alan Kniberg, assures us. Instead, this is the story of how a son of Russian immigrants - who came to this country in steerage - grew up to live in a mansion that had been built for Oscar Hammerstein. Dropping names whenever possible, he tells terrific stories about Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Billy Crystal, the Kennedys, and dozens of other friends famous and not so famous. His life in comedy and show business takes us on a glorious journey from the Borscht Belt to early success at the Palace Theater and all the way thorough to the recent Martin Scorsese film Casino. Along the way we learn a great deal about a man who still thinks of himself as two people, Alan King and Irwin Kniberg, who wins our hearts because that kid Irwin is, as he confesses, "still inside there, desperate to do something, to be somebody."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though King has filled many shoes during his 50 years in show business-including those of a boxer, a Broadway producer and an actor-he's worn out the most leather as a stand-up comic. How appropriate it is, then, that in his entertaining memoir he eschews "heavy drama" and "tell-all" confessions for a head-spinning volley of anecdotes and asides. Some of them are touching, as when he tells of arranging for David Dubinsky to call King's elderly father, who "revered" the union leader. Most are humorous, often hilarious, like the one about his tomato sauce cook-off challenge to Frank Sinatra, which ended up being judged by Louie the Light, Willie the Nose and Morey the Mouth. The parade of celebrities here seems endless-Marlon Brando, Harry Truman, Dean Martin (portrayed both in his youth and as a tragic old man), John Wayne, Judy Garland, Robert and Ted Kennedy, Jack Benny and on and on. Born Irwin Alan Kniberg to Russian immigrants in 1927, King honed his storytelling craft on the street corners of his boyhood Brooklyn neighborhood. It was time well spent; this autobiography is a delight. Author tour. (June)
Library Journal
Consisting of one long Alan King stand-up routine filled with all his stories and schtick, this memoir will delight those who like King's comedy. Those looking for the usual revealing celebrity autobiography will be disappointed, however. King says upfront, "This is not going to be a tell-all book. My few dark secrets I'm taking to my grave." He does offer up a fairly candid chronological reporting of his life from his humble beginnings as Irwin Alan Kniberg, son of Russian immigrants. He traces his successes from the early ones on the Borscht Belt to his film roles (Memories of Me, Casino) to his Broadway production stints (Lion in Winter, Dinner at Eight). King tells great name-dropping Hollywood stories, some old, some new, and there's warmth here, especially as he talks about his 49-year marriage. Still, there is nothing exceptional in these pages. There could be demand if King hits the talk show circuit, but only comprehensive collections need consider the book otherwise.Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. System, Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684832784
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 9/4/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,165,346
  • Product dimensions: 0.55 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan King conceived and developed this book in the period of time before he died, in May 2004. It would be his final accomplishment in a lifetime of prolific achievement.

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