PRIVILEGED SON: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty

Dennis McDougal, Author . Perseus $35 (544p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0270-9
%%BUY_BOX(978-0-7382-0270-9,1,,,PRIVILEGED SON: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty )%%

Though he tells more about the sometimes shady dynasty than about the newspaper, McDougal (author of The Last Mogul, about Lew Wasserman and MCA), an L.A. Times reporter, renders protagonist Otis Chandler, last of the family dynasty to run the Times, overly enigmatic. Dynasty founder Harrison Otis and son-in-law Harry Chandler played crucial roles in transforming L.A. from a remote outpost of 12,500 to a metropolis of millions. The Times's free Mid-Winter Edition began promoting Southern California to Easterners four years before the first Rose Parade; Otis campaigned for L.A.'s harbor and against unions; he and Chandler spearheaded the plundering of Owens Valley's water. Chandler's real estate ventures stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Mexico; he launched business ventures ranging from the Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Coliseum, landmark hotels and the 1932 Olympics to the local oil, auto, aerospace, fashion and movie industries and Cal Tech, which trained people for technological industries. Chandler's son Norman ran the Times while his wife Dorothy's fund-raising built the L.A. Music Center. Both broke ranks with the family's extreme right-wing politics, and Norman's son Otis, who took the paper's reins in 1960, transformed it from a disrespected, business-boosting propaganda rag to one of the most respected papers in the nation. McDougal inadequately explains Otis's ouster and subsequent ambivalence as the Times floundered under leaders portrayed as insular, incompetent and mendacious, as well as his 60-something second adolescence of fast cars and big surf. McDougal paints the family members as larger-than-life personalities, rather than treating them in context as L.A. grew beyond their control. Fascinating stories abound here, but Chandler and family are mythologized rather than analyzed. 16 pages b&w photos not seen by PW. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/30/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-306-81161-6
Show other formats
%%BUY_BOX(978-0-7382-0270-9,1,,,PRIVILEGED SON: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty )%%
Discover what to read next