Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead
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Show biz legend Brillstein reveals 40 years of gossip, humor, and colorful stories as founding partner of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. Weaving into the worlds of John Belushi and Jim Henson, he takes the reader behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, and more.
"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
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