Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.00
  • Save: $2.72 (11%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 18? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Guaranteed Happiness! Very Good: This book is in excellent shape and has very minor wear, may contain an inscription on the inside cover but minimal writing or highlighting inside the book.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

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


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$21.28
$14.51 $4.84 $8.69

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Have the next big idea for a movie? Submit a 2-15 min. concept video to Amazon Studios for a chance to have your movie made. Learn more.


Frequently Bought Together

The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood + The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up + When Hollywood Had a King: The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence
Price for all three: $47.57

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; New edition edition (April 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306810506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306810503
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Originally founded as a talent agency in 1924 by Jules Stein, an erstwhile Chicago ophthalmologist, the Music Corporation of America reached the pinnacle of its power from the mid-1940s to the early 1960s, when it perfected the art of delivering complete "packages" to film and television companies. These pictures were not only produced by MCA but also featured stars repped by the "Octopus," as the company came to be known. MCA's market domination was so complete that in 1962, the U.S. Justice Department made the company to choose between the talent agency and its production facilities. It chose the latter. Lew Wasserman, named MCA president in 1946, often played bad cop to Stein's good cop by trying to milk every cent from any negotiation, while Stein excelled at soothing a star's or studio exec's bruised feelings. McDougal (Fatal Subtraction: How Hollywood Really Does Business) had no access to Wasserman, but here puts hundreds of interviews and secondary sources to good use, combining crack business reporting with plenty of Hollywood gossip. As MCA becomes a "rapacious behemoth," McDougal focuses on the dark side of its business dealings (e.g., its alleged ties to organized crime), at times veering into innuendo, as when speculating that MCA had a hand in the death of Marilyn Monroe. Although the company remained a force in the movie and TV business, its strength was never the same after the 1960s, and Wasserman's days as a true Hollywood power broker faded after he sold the company in 1990 to the Japanese electronics firm Matsushita. McDougal has produced a feisty behind-the-scenes account of the multimedia empire MCA was in its glory days?a status no Hollywood studio has attainedenjoyed since. Pictures not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

With the upcoming publication of "Dylan: A Biography" (Turner Publishing, May, 2014), Dennis McDougal has authored a total of eleven books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in a career that has spanned over 40 years. Currently, he is working on "The Acid Chronicles," a book and documentary film about the renaissance of LSD as a powerful tool in the treatment of mental illness.

Before he began covering movies and media for the Los Angeles Times in 1983 and, more recently, the New York Times, McDougal worked as a staff writer at dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. A UCLA graduate, McDougal holds a Bachelor's in English and a Master's in Journalism. He was awarded a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and spent a year teaching and studying in Palo Alto, Japan and Canada. Over the years, his journalism has won over 50 honors, including the National Headliners and George Peabody Award. He was a producer for CNN during the O.J. Simpson murder trial and co-produced "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times" (2009) for PBS.

A contributing writer with TV Guide, McDougal has also written for Los Angeles Magazine, Premiere, and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine.

McDougal has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, and the California State Universities at Fullerton and Long Beach. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Memphis, Tennessee, have five children, and 14 grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "rspvdan" on January 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My library is filled with books about the inner workings of the entertainment industry, but none of them have even hinted at the massive power and influence of MCA, Dr. Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman. For over thirty years they controlled what Americans were entertained by. As agents, they handled the vast majority of important actors, musician, singers and writers. And you couldn't hire an MCA talent without agreeing to hire others. In addition, they had insider deals with the unions that no other talent agency or television production company enjoyed. In addition, MCA invented the dubious practice of setting up production companies for entertainers so that they could avoid paying taxes. Of course later, when the star's career started to fade, that same production company became an ever-hungry money pit. I don't think it is possible to truly understand why entertainment is what it is in the twentieth century without reading this book. Despite being published by a major house and receiving rave reviews, you are unlikely to see this author on your local talk shows or to find his book in any of the major chain stores, because so many still fear the subject of this book. Do yourself a favor and order the book from Amazon. It is a must-read for any fan of entertainment books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on December 29, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy reading about the history of Hollywood, this is the book for you. But be forewarned, it reads like a history book and takes a real time commitment to finish. The author goes back to the beginning career of Jules Stein and booking of bands through the sale of Universal to the Bronfman's. Clearly the focus of the book is Lew Wasserman who led MCA from agency to studio with significant influences in politics.
Probably the most entertaining part of the book is the unique stories of the stars of the 40s and 50s since Wasserman was at his peak making careers. Stories are presented about Tony Curtis, Jimmy Stewart and Marilyn Monroe to name a few and are quite entertaining as well as showing Wasserman's power to destroy or make a career.
This book tries to intertwine politics, entertainment and the mafia, and while there may be a connection, sometimes he seems to reach too far and lose focus on the principals who grew MCA into the behemoth that it was. I recommend this book to anyone with an in-depth interest in Hollywood history and what it was like from mid-century.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
To many of us outside of Hollywood, Juluis Stein and Lew Wasserman resemble the sharp shrewd amoral quickbuck artists typically cast in movies and TV as " Hollywood Movie Agents." That they are extremely zealous and very bright is clear from this excellent biography. That they are not above any sort of misrepresentation or other form of deceptive yet quasi-legal business practice is also apparent. These are men who are vain, superficial and abundently successful. They are miles ahead of both their competition and studio heads. Are they decent men? Well if you consider that they spent their professional careers deceiving one another, misrepresenting or withholding facts from their peers and clients and sharply navigating thru numerous shady and questionable practices and relatioinships you have your answer. Top it off with avoidance(legal if you will) of taxes and wartime service to their nation and you have a couple of well dressed thinly venired operators who always seem to get the best of their competitors. The author here does and excellent job, without suggesting any personal bias, of layering one either shady or morally questionable practice over another. I conculded that this is simply how one gets business done in Hollywood and that furthermore it hasn't gotten any worse in recent years since it always a nasty and unforgiving eniormnment to make a buck. There are many minor factual errors in the book but they are more then overcome by the writers assertion of details that are without doubt accurate and important in describing the business and moral, or lack thereof, climate inherit in the movie trade.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on August 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
McDougal has written a monumental book. Exisquitely details and finely told, the story of Lew Wasserman is one for the ages. The history of hollywood is terrific. Some have called this an unfair bashing of a legend--I say it is a fairly balanced portrait of a complex and cold man. Lew is admirable in his own way. My only real issue with the book is the connections that McDougal draws between MCA and the Mob. Clearly, they did do some work together, but the endless sections about the later years (rudnick's work, etc)--get to be confusing (so many names and no glossary) and ulimately without revelation. Lots of accusations. Some of it is interesting (the Sidney Korshak stuff) and some dull. The book is best when focused on Lew and those around him (non-mafia types). A terrific read for the patient and fan of Hollywood behind the scenes books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Capturing the essence of Old Hollywood,the author tries to posthnously piece together the stories of "The Godfather." Not merely tossing up gossip, the analysis of various situations and its underlying consequences on the hOllywood community should be well noted. i would recommend this book to Reading Rainbow readers.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa5b8a168)