Producer: a memoir

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Scribner, Feb 25, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
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"It was David who first led me to understand the meaning of the word producer....He had a vision, he organized, he was there from conception to delivery, every time. It was his clairvoyance, his engagement, his encouragement, that made a Wolper production a joy to work on....I marvel at the variety of enterprises that have borne the David L. Wolper name, undertakings of quality, prestige, compassion, and distinction."
-- Mike Wallace

From one of the most successful and influential producers in the entertainment industry -- responsible for classics such as Roots, The Thorn Birds, L.A. Confidential, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- comes a fascinating memoir of life at the very hub of Hollywood.

David L. Wolper and television were both born in 1928, and their futures would be forever linked, as Wolper grew up to become one of the most significant television producers. His entrepreneurial talents were obvious from the start, when he sold homegrown radishes to his mother for a penny each and delivered sealed envelopes for the wiseguys who hung around New York's Copacabana nightclub.

Part salesman, part visionary, Wolper began his television career in 1949 by peddling films to the newly created TV stations across the country. He left the distribution business in 1958 when he produced his first award-winning television documentary, Race for Space, about the competing U.S. and Russian space programs. From that point on, Wolper's career skyrocketed. His company, Wolper Productions, has created thousands of hours of diverse programming, including the two highest-rated miniseries of all time, Roots and The Thorn Birds; such landmark spectacles as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; hit comedies like Welcome Back, Kotter; the classic movies L.A. Confidential and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; film biographies of John Lennon and Elvis Presley; and acclaimed documentaries with Jacques Cousteau and the National Geographic Society.

Despite Wolper's staggering success and his countless Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, he remains street-smart, wry, and surprisingly down-to-earth. Told in a conversational, comfortable voice, Producer is filled with funny and surprising anecdotes about such varied personalities as Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace and John Travolta, the Kennedys and Richard Nixon, and legends Orson Welles and Federico Fellini.

By combining flexibility, resourcefulness, and determination, Wolper produced some of the landmark documentaries, films, miniseries, and entertainment events of the twentieth century. Producer is the engaging and inspiring memoir of a true pioneer.

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Producer: a memoir

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One of the earliest and most respected of Hollywood's independent television producers, Wolper (b. 1928) is forever linked to the miniseries Roots, based on Alex Haley's book. The epic not only ... Read full review

Contents

New York New York
3
Buchwald and USC
11
The Lonely Road
16
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

David L. Wolper has worked in the television and film worlds for more than fifty years. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.