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Sam Wasson


Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson is the author of six previous books on Hollywood, including the New York Times bestsellers FIFTH AVENUE, FIVE A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern American Woman, THE BIG GOODBYE: Chinatown and the Last Days of Hollywood, and FOSSE, the basis for the limited series “Fosse/Verdon.” With Jeanine Basinger, he is the co-author of HOLLYWOOD: The Oral History. He lives in Los Angeles.

Sam Wasson

Books by Sam Wasson

by Jeanine Basinger and Sam Wasson - History, Nonfiction, Performing Arts

From the archives of the American Film Institute comes a unique picture of what it was like to work in Hollywood from its beginnings to its present day. Gleaned from nearly 3,000 interviews, involving 400 voices from the industry, HOLLYWOOD lets a reader “listen in” on candid remarks from the biggest names in front of the camera (Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Harold Lloyd) to the biggest behind it (Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Jordan Peele), as well as the lesser known individuals who shaped what was heard and seen on screen. The result is like a conversation among the gods and goddesses of film: lively, funny, insightful, historically accurate and, for the first time, authentically honest in its portrait of Hollywood. It’s the insider’s story.

by Sam Wasson - Biography, Entertainment, Nonfiction

In Sam Wasson’s THE BIG GOODBYE, the story of Chinatown becomes the defining story of the most colorful characters in the most colorful period of Hollywood history. Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, as compelling a movie star as there has ever been, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston. Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage death of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered dealmaking of “The Kid” Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here too is Robert Towne’s fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written.

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.