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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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"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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Top customer reviews
The book overlays his departure from his firm and turning it over to the next generation of managers. It clearly was tough for him and he seems to touch on unresolved issues without finalizing them. Read the book and draw your own conclusions on this point.
I enjoy reading about how people become successful in their chosen fields, although I didn't really find that much with this book or with the stories regarding the people he represents.
If you want to know about "poor Bernie", I would definitely recommend, yet if you are looking for anything vaguely interesting, I would look elsewhere.