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Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead Paperback – January 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix Books (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597775584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597775588
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"My wink is binding," Bernie Brillstein writes in the middle part of his memoir of a career in showbiz. At this point the movie-star manager has already admitted that he wanted power and prestige as soon as he started in the William Morris agency mailroom. And that he chased after a Don Corleone-ish kind of respect afterward. But even when he became a clout-carrying manager and near-mogul he kept his people-first credo. You suspect he loves it too for the way it echoes the Borscht Belt, since that's the kind of verbal energy he draws on throughout this anecdote-crammed autobiography. He calls himself "show," but in four decades he had to be "business" too, tough enough to tell clients, as he says he did, when to start their career over from scratch. The book begins with a graphically honest memory of his visit to the proctologist with his family when he was 24--something he guffaws off, but it's probably not far from the sort of reality check he regularly gave clients like Jim Henson, Norm Crosby, Lorne Michaels, John Belushi, and Brad Pitt. He cops to a gambling addiction, a love of "high class call girls," and to the way he stole from Laugh-Into invent Hee Haw. But he also brokered Lorne Michael's big break with SNL, produced Dangerous Liaisons, and eventually got News Radio and The Sopranos on the air. He candidly assesses professional pains too, including Michael Ovitz's pathology, Garry Shandling's riddling neuroses, and the loss of Belushi and Henson. "I care," he writes finally, "because that's who I am." It's easy to smile at that, but by the end of the book it's also easy to believe he means it. --Lyall Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a 45-year career as an agent, producer, studio head and personal manager, Brillstein may have swum with the Hollywood sharks, but he doesn't consider himself one. While Brillstein understandably brims with pride when recounting how he built his impressive stable of clientsAincluding Muppets creator Jim Henson and Saturday Night Live's John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and Lorne MichaelsAhe is often self-deprecating in this engaging memoir. With a bemused tone similar to Robert Evans's in The Kid Stays in the Picture, Brillstein 'fesses up to various sins: getting into the business to meet women, booking business for a dead client early in his career at the William Morris Agency, and being the New York Jew responsible for launching the ultimate in TV cornpone: Hee-Haw. But there are glimpses of pathos, too: in his admissions of ambivalence about having sold his share of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment to partner Brad Grey; in his memories of a famous comedian uncle who torpedoed his own career, of a mother who seldom got out of bed and Brillstein's own succession of wives; and in his account of the tragic early deaths of Henson and Belushi. Perhaps most interesting to Hollywood insiders and media junkies will be Brillstein's assessment of the TV biz (he suggests doing away with pilots and having the guts to commit to shows) and his rivalry with CAA co-founder Mike Ovitz, a former friend. "When a bully is left on his own, he gets stupid," writes Brillstein, proving that even if he's not exactly a shark, he still has bite. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The stories Bernie has to tell!
HeyJudy
In reviewing this book I refer to Bernie by his first name, since he writes like he's writing to a friend, and by the end of the book I felt like that friend.
JOHN M. WOLFSON
This book is a "must have" to read over and over again.
Sue Few

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amy Rosen on February 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For those of us hooked on "The E True Hollywood Story," "VH1's Behind The Music" and other outlets for real life Hollywood dish, Bernie Brillstein's book is a wonderful treat. This is a candid, honest look at a half-century long career in the trenches. Bernie Brillstein nurtured the careers of Lorne Michaels,Jim Henson, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and many more icons. Besides the wonderful stories (ok, dish) about his clients, Brillstein shares behind the scenes anecdotes from the deal making trenches. Great insights for any future Hollywood agents/managers. But even if you don't work in this town, you will love Bernie's story and possibly pick up some useful life lessons. An appealing, infinitely readable Hollywood read, and if you like this, check out books by Bob Evans and Ken Kragen!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Even though I'm in the business, I have, for the past few years, avoided the "Hollywood" book with good reason: most are shallow and short-sighted examples of self-aggrandizing at its worst. Michael Eisner's autobiography is a good example. But Brillstein's book is very different. Not only does he tell a great story in an unforgettable voice that doesn't make you ashamed to be part of Hollywood -- but he's brutally honest in the telling. No sugar-coated confection, this. What comes across most is that Brillstein is a real person, a guy who loves what he does. As he says in the book: "I did it for the thrill of it all, not the thrill of having it all." We need more of those guys in town, but sadly, Brillstein is one of the last--and he knows it. And there's much more, most of it hilarious and wise, as Brillstein shares freely everything he's learned from 45 years of loving, hating, and loving show business. He writes about the importance of passion, instinct and honesty--issues which apply to any business or walk of life. Brillstein is clearly a character, the heart of every memorable story. Get this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sue Few on March 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Fortunately or unfortunately I found this book at the local library and thought I was saving myself a few bucks by not having to buy it. This book is a "must have" to read over and over again. Brillstein hits the heart and soul of the movie business - his love, loyalty and trust of talent and his "best friends" are truly genuine and in the cut throat business of the biz, is heartwarming although at the same time he exposes his survival instincts at their best. Wonderful to read a book about the biz written by someone, of Brillstein's status, who has a true love for the business and can candidly talk about what it feels like to turn over the show to the new kids in town. Yes, Amazon.com, I'm buying the book for myself and for my grandkids.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By HeyJudy VINE VOICE on December 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found myself unexpectedly touched by this autobiography. Having read it, I consider Bernie Brillstein a friend. With no self-praise, Brillstein shows himself to be a man of decency, of compassion, of empathy. He began in his profession as an agent at William Morris, dreaming of representing mid-Century comics such as Jackie Gleason and Jackie Gale. When he left William Morris, he became a personal manager, starting the careers of dozens of entertainers who have become household names. The stories Bernie has to tell! He survived--there's no other word--until the end of the century, representing Jim Henson, Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and, as the saying goes, a cast of thousands along the way. He created HEE HAW and greenlighted THE SOPRANOS, headed a movie studio for a short time, got fired, picked himself up and started again. His very life has been the personification of the entertainment business; there are few who exceeded his success. And he is the one having the last laugh: He's still here! But along with the chronological report of his professional experience, what he was thinking, how he pulled it off, there is this man, this basically sweet and decent man, and that's what shines through his book. I enjoyed reading about Bernie's fascinating life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Where Did I Go Right?" looks like a big rectangular Oreo cookie, with its thin black covers and thick white insides. And it's set up like one, too. "I'm not king anymore." That's the first line. "These days it's good not to be king." That's the last line. Tempting, right? Kind of tasty, hm?. Ah, but wait 'til you get to the sweet stuff in between! What's really interesting about this book is not WHO is in it -- you already know Bernie Brillstein is going to talk about John Belushi and Jim Henson and Mike Ovitz and Gilda Radner and Dangerous Liaisons and [drop big Hollywood name here]. What's best about the book is WHEN it was written. Apparently Bernie decided to sit down with writer David Rensin and talk about his life at one of its lowest points. Then talked through his depression with Rensin long enough to go from the first sentence to the last, from the bottom to the top, and then right on up higher. It turns out to be a typical Bernie journey: do good, get knocked down, get up, do better. And learn something from it. Philosophy, humanity, perspective, humor, wit: Gee, who'd a thunk it from current-day Hollywood? Enjoy your cookie.
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