The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood

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9780306810503: The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood

The reviewer of the Boston Globe said point blank: "Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on Hollywood and the movie business, and this one is right at the top." As the elusive, tyrannical head of the Music Corporation of America (MCA) until the 1990s, Lew Wasserman was the most powerful and feared man in show business for more than half a century. His career spanned the entire history of the movies, from the silent era to the present, and he was guru to Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and Jimmy Stewart, and to a new generation of filmmakers beginning with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. For more than four years, Dennis McDougal interviewed over 350 people who knew the man with the giant dark horn-rimmed glasses—colleagues, relatives, rivals—and drew on tens of thousands of pages of documents to produce this extraordinary and first-ever portrait of a legend and his times, a book that the New York Times Book Review called "thoroughly reported and engrossing" and that the Daily News called, simply, "a bombshell."

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"I run all the studios," 38-year-old Lew Wasserman boasted in 1951 when turning down an offer to run MGM. Indeed, he did. As president of MCA, the most powerful talent agency of its time, Wasserman gained unprecedented artistic and financial clout for Hollywood's top stars, hastening the end of the studio system. Not that he did it out of the goodness of his heart. The canny, ruthless Wasserman was famous for inventing new ways to increase MCA's percentage, most notably by bundling clients into packages the agency produced for the burgeoning television market--a glaring conflict of interest that finally prompted a Justice Department investigation. Veteran movie journalist Dennis McDougal (author of Fatal Subtraction: The Inside Story of Buchwald v. Paramount) uses Wasserman's career as a case study in how the entertainment industry has changed over the course of the 20th century. He chronicles MCA's evolution from a band-booking business in wide-open Jazz Age Chicago (where persistent rumors about the company's Mob ties began) to a postwar movie and TV powerhouse to a Japanese-owned subsidiary in the 1990s. Seamlessly blending biography, business reporting, and juicy celebrity anecdotes, this is first-rate showbiz muckraking. --Wendy Smith

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Praise for Dennis McDougal

Fatal Subtraction: How Hollywood Really Does Business

"O'Donnell and McDougal score a real bull's-eye in their informative and thorough blow-by-blow account of this landmark case."
--Janet Maslin, New York Times

"Fatal Subtraction is the guidebook to Hollywood deal-making in the nineties."
--Digby Diehl, Playboy

Angel of Darkness

"About as good a piece of journalism as you'll ever read."
--Larry King

"A gripping, well-told tale of incredible evil."
--Tony Hillerman, author of A Thief of Time and Coyote Waits

In the Best of Families

"A beautifully written and important book about murder, madness, and manipulating among the privileged class. A must-read."
--Jonathan Kellerman, author of Bad Love and Self-Defense

"Dennis McDougal has broken down the walls of silence that have enveloped this case since the day of the horrible crime. I was riveted by his reporting and writing."
--Dominick Dunne, author of Another City, Not My Own

"Startling . . . the Brady Bunch in Hell."
--Los Angeles Times

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Book Description INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The reviewer of the Boston Globe said point blank: Over the years, I ve read hundreds of books on Hollywood and the movie business, and this one is right at the top. As the elusive, tyrannical head of the Music Corporation of America (MCA) until the 1990s, Lew Wasserman was the most powerful and feared man in show business for more than half a century. His career spanned the entire history of the movies, from the silent era to the present, and he was guru to Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, and Jimmy Stewart, and to a new generation of filmmakers beginning with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. For more than four years, Dennis McDougal interviewed over 350 people who knew the man with the giant dark horn-rimmed glasses,colleagues, relatives, rivals,and drew on tens of thousands of pages of documents to produce this extraordinary and first-ever portrait of a legend and his times, a book that the New York Times Book Review called thoroughly reported and engrossing and that the Daily News called, simply, a bombshell. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780306810503

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