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Sam Wasson


Sam Wasson

L.A. native Sam Wasson studied Film at Wesleyan University and at the USC School of Cinematic Arts before publishing his first book, A SPLURCH IN THE KISSER: The Movies of Blake Edwards, in 2009. The definitive account of Edwards’s magisterial 50-year career, SPLURCH --- which Andrew Sarris called “the critical resurrection of Blake Edwards” --- encouraged Wasson to explore the phenomenon of Edwards’ most popular film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in greater depth. In 2010, FIFTH AVENUE, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman became a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, has been translated in over a dozen languages, and was named one of the best books of the year by several national publications, including The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. PAUL ON MAZURSKY, Wasson’s book of conversations with the legendary writer-director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, was published in 2011, and incited Quentin Tarantino to write, “Paul Mazursky is one of the great writer-directors of cinema.”

FOSSE, Wasson’s 2013 biography of the legendary director-choreographer of CabaretChicagoPippin and All That Jazz, appeared on over a half-dozen Best of the Year lists, including NPR and Entertainment Weekly, and was called “one of the most eloquent showbiz accounts in years” by the Chicago Tribune.

Wasson’s writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Hollywood ReporterVariety and The Wall Street Journal. He’s served as a consultant for The Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA Film, was a Visiting Professor of Film at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and currently teaches film at Emerson College in Los Angeles. As panelist and lecturer, Wasson has appeared all over the world, from the 92nd Street Y in New York to Toronto’s Bell Lightbox Theater to the Rome International Film Festival, has been a featured guest on CNN, BBC, Fox, ABC and NPR, and an uninvited guest at many dinner parties.

His new book is IMPROV NATION: How We Made A Great American Art.

Sam lives in Los Angeles.

Sam Wasson

Books by Sam Wasson

by Sam Wasson - Comedy, Entertainment, History, Movies, Nonfiction, Performing Arts, Television

In IMPROV NATION, Sam Wasson charts the meteoric rise of improv from its unlikely beginnings in McCarthy-era Chicago. We witness the chance meeting between Mike Nichols and Elaine May, hang out at the after-hours bar where Dan Aykroyd hosted friends like John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, and go behind the scenes of cultural landmarks from The Graduate to “The Colbert Report.” Along the way, we befriend pioneers such as Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, Judd Apatow and many others. Wasson shows why improv deserves to be considered the great American art form of the last half century.