Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood
Edie and Lew Wasserman and Their Entertainment Empire
By Kathleen Sharp
(Da Capo Press, Hardcover, 9780786712205, 400pp.)
Publication Date: October 2003
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The Wassermans ruled over twentieth-century Hollywood by building MCA, the world's largest talent agency, which ultimately devoured the global multibillion-dollar conglomerate, Universal Studios. Hounded by antitrust prosecutors, attacked by lesser rivals, and betrayed by their own proteges, this supremely powerful couple vanquished their enemies while extending their influence beyond Sunset Strip, into governors' mansions, Senate chambers, the White House, and international boardrooms. Lew was uber-agent to legendary stars, a pioneering TV producer and a film mogul with a Midas touch. He was a boss to sixty-two labor unions, a diplomat, political kingmaker, and cultural statesman. His wife and champion, Edie, was the daughter of a Cleveland mob attorney, the queen of Hollywood's social A-list, and Lew's secret agent who used her cunning and charm to help him. For more than sixty years, the couple played a central role in shaping the Golden Age of TV, the glamorization of Las Vegas, the development of the blockbuster film (Psycho, Jaws, E.T.) and the elevation of the entertainment industry into America's number-one export. Sharp also chronicles the Wassermans' extraordinary philanthropy which made them the most generous of Hollywood's benefactors. 16 pages of black and white photographs are included.