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Hidden Talent: The Emergence of Hollywood Agents
by Tom Kemper
Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall—behind each of these stars was a hidden force: the talent agent. In this first-ever history of Hollywood agents, Tom Kemper mines agency archives to present an insider's view on their tooth-and-claw rise to power during the studio era. It's a tale of ambitious characters, savvy calculation, muckraking, financial ruin, and ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by University of California Press
(first published 2009)
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A fascinating intervention into the standard accounts of Hollywood's history, industry, and structure. The history nicely chronicles the rise of agents during early Hollywood, both the successes and the failures, and their role in the production of Hollywood films. The books doesn't go far enough to say that earlier accounts dismiss these agents, instead argues for this account being integrated into the earlier ones, perhaps out of academic politics. [return][return]Kemper may overstate the role ...more
This newly published work by USC CNTV professor Kemper was recently lauded in the latest Trojan Family alumni magazine. My first job after graduating USC was as an agent's assistant, a glorified role of an insolent red headed stepchild complete with the disdain and destruction such a child would endure at the hands of a cuckolded brutish wife-beater. This book is said to chronicle the ugly backstabbing so called business practices of an industry we call show. Most agents I met have a special ...more
This book reads like assigned reading in a college course. However, it is extremely informative (though filled with tons of minutia which made it hard to plod along) and is probably a necessary read for anyone interested in old Hollywood or anyone entering the industry.