Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood: Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire

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9780786712205: Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood: Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire
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The Wassermans ruled over twentieth-century Hollywood by building MCA, the world’s largest talent agency, which ultimately devoured the global multibillion-dollar conglomerate, Universal Studios. Hounded by antitrust prosecutors, attacked by lesser rivals, and betrayed by their own proteges, this supremely powerful couple vanquished their enemies while extending their influence beyond Sunset Strip, into governors’ mansions, Senate chambers, the White House, and international boardrooms. Lew was uber-agent to legendary stars, a pioneering TV producer and a film mogul with a Midas touch. He was a boss to sixty-two labor unions, a diplomat, political kingmaker, and cultural statesman. His wife and champion, Edie, was the daughter of a Cleveland mob attorney, the queen of Hollywood’s social A-list, and Lew’s secret agent who used her cunning and charm to help him. For more than sixty years, the couple played a central role in shaping the Golden Age of TV, the glamorization of Las Vegas, the development of the blockbuster film (Psycho, Jaws, E.T.) and the elevation of the entertainment industry into America’s number-one export. Sharp also chronicles the Wassermans’ extraordinary philanthropy which made them the most generous of Hollywood’s benefactors. 16 pages of black and white photographs are included.

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About the Author:

Kathleen Sharp covers Hollywood for the Boston Globe.

From Publishers Weekly:

As a top executive at MCA, Lew Wasserman was one of the biggest agents in the movie industry, then topped that by becoming one of the most powerful studio heads ever, orchestrating the gradual takeover of Universal Studios starting in 1958. His wife, Edie, was equally powerful in the realm of the "Hollywood Wives," throwing parties where other executive spouses mixed with starlets like Janet Leigh. Sharp, the Boston Globe's Hollywood correspondent, covers much of the same territory as Connie Bruck's recent Wasserman bio, When Hollywood Had a King, but the attention she gives to Edie adds celebrity gossip to the mix as well as a new facet on the matter of MCA's ties to organized crime. She also sheds light on new aspects of Lew's career, like his guiding hand in the development of early videodisc technology. The book clarifies the frosty relationship between Lew and Ronald Reagan while revealing how Reagan may have colluded with MCA while heading the Screen Actors Guild, depriving SAG members of potentially lucrative residual benefits. While Bruck remains a better source on MCA's early years, Sharp offers additional insights into how Wasserman transformed a talent agency into a studio that produced nearly half of all prime-time programming in the late 1970s, then found creative ways to keep all the profits for itself. Drawing upon more than 450 interviews, Sharp blends corporate maneuvering and personal scandals into a gripping portrait of the original power couple. 16-page photo insert not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780786714193: Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood: Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire

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ISBN 10:  0786714190 ISBN 13:  9780786714193
Publisher: Da Capo Press, 2004
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