Clown Prince of Hollywood: The Antic Life and Times of Jack L. Warner

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9780070642591: Clown Prince of Hollywood: The Antic Life and Times of Jack L. Warner
From Publishers Weekly:

Covering the life of Jack L. Warner (1892-1978), Thomas ( King Cohn ) describes how the late studio head and his three brothers, sons of Polish Jewish immigrants, worked their way from poverty in Ohio and established Warner Bros. in the 1920s. The seemingly all-inclusive biography discusses the full family--parents, in-laws, offspring--but the spotlight remains on Jack the clown. Forever telling bum jokes, even when firing someone (usually without cause), he was an absolute autocrat, miserly, and sexually promiscuous, according to the author. Adding to the tyrant's notoriety were highly publicized battles with Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, James Cagney et al. Along with accounts of the legendary moviemaker's character faults, Thomas cites his singular accomplishments: against powerful competition, he built Warner Bros. from a small-time operation to the company that pioneered sound films and produced such classics as A Star Is Born and My Fair Lady . This detailed book is a particular treasure for cinema buffs. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

"Correcting" Jack Warner's whimsical "as told to" autobiography (1964), this (surprisingly) first biography of the subject (1892-1978), written by the ace veteran Hollywood writer/reporter, offers an incisive portrait of the pioneering Hollywood mogul who outlasted his equally legendary contemporaries. Since his life was so entwined with the studio he founded with his brothers and ran for 40-plus years, this is also a concise, informative history of Warner Brothers, from Rin Tin Tin to My Fair Lady. There are few new facts here, but Thomas smartly condenses material from other books and adds anecdotes from a bevy of new interviews. The title's a misnomer: Warner was a habitual but assiduously unfunny jokester. He was also ruthless, cheap, cruel to underlings and his many girlfriends, and blindingly conservative politically, as Thomas shows. He depended on his producers, tolerated directors, resented writers, hated actors, and despised agents. But he also made some great pictures.
- David Bartholo mew, NYPL
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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