Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"
In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.
Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.
And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come."
As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead."
With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.
Hollywood power player Weintraub, now 72, is always in control and goes to great lengths to prove it: besides having managed musical legends like Presley, Sinatra and John Denver (""I cooked him from scratch""), Weintraub once closed a deal by faking a heart attack, and won the respect of one of Chicago's most powerful men, Arthur Wirtz, when he cursed Wirtz out for making him wait (Wirtz would go on to become one of Weintraub's mentors). Weintraub's also produced plays, TV shows, movies (from Nashville to the Ocean's 11 franchise), and more, summing up his talent simply: ""When I believe in something, it's going to get done."" Edgy and honest but refreshingly spare in his criticism of stars, colleagues and family, Weintraub can be forgiven for glossing over speed bumps in his career (one failed business lost $30 million before it closed in the mid-'80s) and occasionally showing his age with wandering rumination. As Weintraub repeatedly states, he is not a star, which perhaps that explains the disappointing omission of photos. Still, with a bold voice, a storied career, and a cast of superstars, his memoir makes a rousing insider tour of some five decades in the entertainment industry.
Reviewed on: 04/05/2010
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April 06, 2010
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