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When Hollywood Had a King: The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence
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When Hollywood Had a King: The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In When Hollywood Had a King, the distinguished journalist Connie Bruck tells the sweeping story of MCA and its brilliant leader, a man who transformed the entertainment industry— businessman, politician, tactician, and visionary Lew Wasserman.


The Music Corporation of America was founded in Chicago in 1924 by Dr. Jules Stein, an ophthalmologist with a gift for booking ban
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Paperback, 528 pages
Published July 13th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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Alex
Mar 03, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it
I waited a long time to read this, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are other Wasserman bios, but I'm pretty confident this is the best. The prose feels measured and authoritative. As I remarked to a friend, it's too bad The Mob hasn't opened its archives, yet. Then Bruck wd have had all the info at hand. Nick Tosches has his own, mesmerizing take on Sidney Korshak & Co., but, well, props to Bruck for taking a slightly straighter approach. No endnotes or footnotes, and I must say: I'm enviou ...more
Donna
Feb 28, 2013 Donna rated it it was amazing
My mother once said that a handful of men or people run the world. After reading this book…I have proof! Lew Wasserman sure did in his time!

He even made a President – Ronald Reagan. Lew aligned himself with the Mob, Hollywood (his reinvented version away from the moguls) and Washington.

Shrewd, never wrote anything done, stayed out of the public eye and was a total shark in business. Not someone I would ever wanted to know. And apparently he didn’t have friends. Although his friendship with Alfr
...more
Timothy Hallinan
Jun 25, 2010 Timothy Hallinan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the only Hollywood executive who could claim to have wielded power equal to that of the early moguls -- Mayer, Schenck, Zukor, Thalberg, Warner, etc. The problem with the book is its subject. Both Wasserman and his mentor, Jules Stein, were ice-cold, incredibly opaque, immensely secretive (especially about their mob ties, which are detailed in Gus Russo's blistering SUPERMOB). Here's how cold Stein was: his daughter, Jean, wanted desperately an antique music box on his desk ...more
McKenzy Germain
Dec 18, 2015 McKenzy Germain rated it it was amazing
For those who are interested in crushing it in the entertainment world, it's worth the read!
Chris
Oct 23, 2010 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Lew Wasserman may have been the "King of Hollywood" in terms of business deals, but there is nothing in this book about filmmaking or the people who made movies during his career. People like Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are only briefly mentioned.
Bucky K.
Apr 19, 2008 Bucky K. rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if I would recommend this book to people who aren't interested in the wheelings and dealings of Hollywood. I found it to be incredibly thorough and amazing. Lew Wasserman essentially ran Hollywood for many years... and this is his biography.
Amy Wolf
A great book about the King of Hollywood, Lew Wasserman. He parlayed a talent agency (MCA) into a conglomerate (Universal), amassing tremendous power along the way. An SOB, but a talented one!
Patricia
Must read for anyone interested in the marriage of media and politics.
Sergio GRANDE films
Nov 15, 2012 Sergio GRANDE films rated it liked it
An exceptionally interesting and unusual life turned into an average book.
Doug
May 08, 2010 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We learn from history.
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