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My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey through Hollywood

by Tom Mankiewicz and Robert Crane

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Screen Classics
400 pages  Pubdate: 02/17/2015  6 x 9 x 1.25  28 b&w photos

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The son of famed director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve [1950], Guys and Dolls [1955], Cleopatra [1963]) and the nephew of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz was genuine Hollywood royalty. He grew up in Beverly Hills and New York, spent summers on his dad’s film sets, had his first drink with Humphrey Bogart, dined with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, went to the theater with Ava Gardner, and traveled the world writing for Brando, Sinatra, and Connery. Although his family connections led him to show business, Tom “Mank” Mankiewicz forged a career of his own, becoming a renowned screenwriter, director, and producer of acclaimed films and television shows. He wrote screenplays for three James Bond films—Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)—and made his directorial debut with the hit TV series Hart to Hart (1979–1984). My Life as a Mankiewicz is a fascinating look at the life of an individual whose creativity and work ethic established him as a member of the Hollywood writing elite.

Mankiewicz details his journey through the inner world of the television and film industries, beginning with his first job as production assistant on The Comancheros (1961), starring John Wayne. My Life as a Mankiewicz illuminates his professional development as a writer and director, detailing his friendships and romantic relationships with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as well as his struggle with alcohol and drugs. With the assistance of Robert Crane, Mankiewicz tells a story of personal achievement and offers an insider’s view of the glamorous world of Hollywood during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Tom Mankiewicz (1942–2010) was a screenwriter, director, and producer of motion pictures and television series, perhaps best known for his work on the James Bond films, Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), and the television series Hart to Hart (1979–1984).

Robert Crane is coauthor of Bruce Dern: Things I’ve Said, but Probably Shouldn’t Have—An Unrepentant Memoir, Jack Nicholson: The Early Years, and SCTV: Behind the Scenes as well as a contributor to Hal Ashby: Interviews. He lives in Los Angeles.

"One of the few books about the American movie industry that shows, not tells, what is meant by the idea that the business is one of relationships."--Tom Stempel, author of Understanding Screenwriting: Learning from Good, Not-Quite-So-Good, and Bad Screenplays

"Highly entertaining.... I came away from this book with a real appreciation of, and fondness for, how it works-- from premise to pitch to scrambling for finance to dealing with ego dilemmas to final screenplay and practical on-the-set problems. [Mankiewicz's] tremendous respect for small and large collaborators, from grips to stars, is contagious."--Clancy Sigal, author of five books including Going Away and A Woman of Uncertain Character

“Mankiewicz details his journey through the inner world of the television and film industries, beginning with his first job as a production assistant on The Comancheros (1961), starring John Wayne.”--Turner Classic Movies

Highly entertaining....[Mankiewicz's] tremendous respect for small and large collaborators, from grips to stars, is contagious. -- Clancy Sigal, author of five books including Going Away and A Woman of Uncertain Character

“A primer on the industry from someone who experienced it up close and personal throughout his whole life.”--Yahoo! Movies

"A whirlwind tour through Hollywood history withy Tom as the affable guide."--Movie Maker

"There hasn't been a great book on Hollywood in quite some time, which is why My Life as a Mankiewicz is such a treat."--Script

"A treasure trove of observations and anecdotes about Hollywood from the 1960s to the 1980s and the people who made the movies back then."--Associated Press

"Details the developments of Menkiewicz's own career as a writer and director. It also recounts the wild, drug-fueled atmosphere of Hollywood and his romantic liaisons with big stars of the '60s, '70s, and '80s."--Our Ventura Boulevard

"One of the few books about the American movie industry that shows, not tells, what is meant by the idea that the business is one of relationships."--Slant Magazine

"A spirited and creatively non-linear account of his colorful and diverse career, transcending traditional storytelling by showing what it meant to be a Mankiewicz--in and out of the director's chair. . . . A top-notch read about a true class act."--DGA Quarterly

"There are stories about how he shepherded the Bond transition from Sean Connery to Roger Moore, and his rewrite of Superman, which created the template for every superhero movie up to today."--Maclean's

"After obligingly recapping his fractious family history in the opening pages, Mank dives headlong into the book's true purpose: serving up delicious Hollywood dish. He grew up on the sets of his father's films, and there is no reason to doubt his recollection of events. This time the tawdry Tinseltown stories feel true."--Globe and Mail

"A fitting tribute to . . . a member of of the glmourous world of Hollywood during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s."--Tucson Citizen

"Tom Mankiewicz was as close to royalty as one can get in Hollywood."--Los Angeles Times

"Prime firsthand anecdotes fill this consistently readable and entertaining book."--Washington Post

"This enormously entertaining memoir gives the reader the benefit of a superb racouteur's vast store of anecdote and incident."--Washington Times

"A trove of cinematic tales and celebrity gossip."--Biographile

"A brutally honest autobiogaphy."--National Board of Review

My Life as Mankiewicz is a treasure trove of observations and anecdotes about Hollywood from the 1960s to the 1980s and the people who made movies back then.” --Winston-Salem Journal

“This enormously entertaining memoir gives the reader the benefit of a superb raconteur’s vast store of anecdote and incident.” --Washington Times

“A consistently readable and entertaining book.” --Washington Post

“Tom Mankiewicz was as close to royalty as one can get in Hollywood. . . . He was also a raconteur of the highest order and many of his favorite stories appear in My Life as a Mankiewicz.” --Los Angeles Times

“One of the best personal accounts of show business ever published.” --Weekly Standard

"Every aspiring film writer, producer, director and movie fanatic should lay hands on this book."--Liz Smith, Huffington Post

Tom Mankiewicz's novel My Life as a Mankiewicz has me enthralled. The movies. The name dropping. The little incidences. -- Daily Awareness -- Daily Awareness

You can hear Tom tell these stories--of navigating sexy, alluring Hollywood while burdened with the expectations that came with being the son of Joseph Mankiewicz.--Ben Mankiewicz -- Ben Mankiewicz -- The Week

My Life as a Mankiewicz is a treasure-trove of observations and anecdotes about Hollywood from the 1960s to the 1980s and the people who made movies back then. -- Independence Daily Reporter

Chock full of fascinating stories from his more than four decades in the Hollywood trenches...for those who enjoy gossipy Hollywood tomes written by intelligent, wryly cynical insiders, Being Mankiewicz is an entertaining and engrossing read. -- Hey U Guys