Synopses & Reviews
For over forty years, Norman Jewison has been one of Hollywood's preeminent storytellers. His films have spanned every genre, from drama to comedy to musical to action, and have been embraced by audiences and critics alike. Throughout his career, Jewison has shown an honesty, humor, and unflappable spirit that have made him one of Hollywood's best-loved and most successful directors, culminating in an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1999.
In this candid and witty autobiography, Jewison reveals how he went from a quiet childhood in Canada to the heady world of entertainment, working with the biggest stars and winning some of the most sought-after awards. He began his career in television, earning three Emmy Awards for his work with luminaries such as Harry Belafonte, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra, but soon made the move to the big screen. In Hollywood, he started out directing romantic comedies with Doris Day and Rock Hudson, but soon proved himself adept as an independent filmmaker with The Cincinnati Kid, starring a young Steve McQueen.
Jewison - or the "Canadian Pinko" as John Wayne called him -- has been a tireless promoter of civil rights around the world in both his films and life. His pre-glasnost comedy The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! made him one of the first Western directors to go behind the Iron Curtain. Robert Kennedy became a friend after supplying details of his own experiences in the South for the making of In The Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier. The landmark film went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but not before Jewison, Poitier, and the rest of the crew spent a tense, sleepless night in a Southern motel. In the '80s and '90s, his films A Soldier's Story and The Hurricane with Denzel Washington each received worldwide acclaim for their portrayal of some of the most fundamental issues of race in America.
No matter what genre, Jewison's films were career highlights for countless actors, and he offers never before told details of his own working relationships with the stars and studios. How did he, a Canadian - Christian - get to direct the hit musical Fiddler on the Roof? How did the rugged, motorcycle-riding Steve McQueen convince Jewison he could play the sophisticated Thomas Crown? How did Jewison help invent the futuristic sport of Rollerball? How did Moonstruck reverse a box office curse and go on to become a smash success and multiple Oscar-winner?
This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me reveals the little-known details in these funny, charming stories of life on the other side of the camera.
"Jewison's movies have received 12 Academy Awards and 46 nominations, a remarkable record for a filmography that numbers only 25 films. His autobiography's unassuming style offers a clear, accessible portrait of the man and overflows with revealing anecdotes about such luminaries as Steve McQueen, Doris Day, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. After finding success in live television working with Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason and Danny Kaye, Jewison began his motion picture career with 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962); survived a bomb, The Art of Love (1965); and eventually turned out a series of classics: The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Moonstruck (1987). He defines Doris Day (The Thrill of It All, 1963) as a consummate comedian who lacked confidence in her appearance; and Sylvester Stallone (F.I.S.T., 1978) as someone who 'behaved like he believed his own publicity.' Jewison also describes his approach to filmmaking, explaining his actions at the all-important pitch meeting, and demonstrates how focused a director must be. Honest without becoming a tell-all or an airing of personal problems, the book is a successful study of what it takes to triumph in Hollywood and achieve artistic satisfaction. Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
PRAISE FOR NORMAN JEWISON:
"Making Moonstruck was so easy and so much fun that nobody thought it
would be anything but this sweet little film... except Norman (my little curmudgeon). Just look at the diversity of his work - In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck, Fiddler on the Roof -- only the GREAT directors are able to cross those boundaries." - Cher
"Norman Jewison is the sunniest of men, friendly, approachable, filled with boundless optimism. Those qualities not only warm his brilliant comedies, of which Moonstruck is my favorite, but also give him the fortitude to address grave and controversial issues. He is a 'mainstream' director who courageously follows his conscience into projects far from the mainstream. His career reflects a rare combination of popular and artistic success." - Roger Ebert
"Norman's book is like Norman; smart, warm, interesting, and a delight to spend time with." - Sidney Lumet
"A fiercely human and vastly entertaining memoir by a maker of fiercely human and vastly entertaining films. Norman Jewison is a man with a great heart and generosity of spirit." -- Joe Eszterhas, author of Hollywood Animal
"A terrific book about Hollywood...funny, honest, and tough -- like
Jewison." - William Goldman, screenwriter, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
"If you want to find Norman Jewison, follow the movies. They are not his life. But they are the massive and various evidence that a man of substance and dumbfounding productivity has passed by here. So many genres: social realism, political satire, romance, musicals, issues of race. And so many faces: Steve McQueen, Doris Day, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier, Sir Michael Caine, Cher, Denzel Washington, Anne Bancroft, Rod Steiger. All these stories and faces and issues and eras of our lives. - Pulitzer Prize-winner John Patrick Shanley, from the Foreword
One of Hollywood's most celebrated directors captures the excitement and success of his four decades in filmmaking in this funny, absorbing memoir.
About the Author
Norman Jewison has been a vibrant force in the motion picture industry for more than forty years. His films have been celebrated at the Academy Awards, having received a total of 46 nominations. He has been personally nominated for three Best Director awards and in 1999 receiving the Irving Thalberg Award for lifetime achievement. He has won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the Donatello Award from Italy, and numerous international prizes. Norman Jewison currently has two films in development. He lives on a working farm in Ontario, Canada.