Goldwyn

A. Scott Berg, Author
A. Scott Berg, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24.95 (579p) ISBN 978-0-394-51059-0
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
In his first 40 years, poor, Warsaw-born Shmuel Gelbfisz walked 500 miles to Hamburg, then from London to Liverpool, arrived in America at 19, became a U.S. citizen as Sam Goldfish, worked as a glove salesman, established a company to produce and distribute films and took the name Samuel Goldwyn. This comprehensive, amusing account of his private life and lengthy career as a Hollywood studio head--by the author of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius --depicts an often unscrupulous businessman, gambler, woman-chaser and inadequate father, who frequently burst into tears when overcome by emotion or frustration and who was married for more than 40 years to a charming, witty, tough-as-nails social lioness. The book is peppered with hundreds of Goldwyn's famous and infamous malapropisms, dozens of anecdotes about his critical and commercial failures as well as his outstanding successes ( Wuthering Heights ; The Little Foxes ; The Best Years of Our Lives ), and details of his relationships with, among scores of others, Eddie Cantor, Ronald Colman, Merle Oberon, Gary Cooper, George Cukor, William Wyler, Billy Wilder. This is a thoroughly engrossing book about an unadmirable man. Photos. 45,000 first printing; first serial to the New York Times; Movie-Entertainment Book Club dual main selection; BOMC featured alternate. (Apr.)
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