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Mi, Mi, Mi, Mi

The Dead Don’t Speak

Showbiz mogul and big wheel Jerry Weintraub tells all, or as much as he can.

Book Cover I suppose I ought not be surprised that entertainment business big macher Jerry Weintraub’s book, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man (with Rick Cohen) is a best-seller (Amazon rank #112). Americans have a keen interest in inside-baseball stories, and apparently the cultural industrial complex has paid attention to this tome as if it were the Dead Sea Scrolls. Actually more attention has been paid.

An audacious but charming Brooklynite, as he tells it, “All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage. I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: ‘Jerry Weintraub Presents.’” Weintraub’s first big success was in persuading Elvis Presley’s Svengali, Tom Parker, to allow him to take the King on the road. Weintraub parlayed that into a life producing concerts and movies with the biggest names in the show business—Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver—and chumming around with a broad stripe of celebrities, the likes of Bobby Fischer, George H.W. Bush, and Armand Hammer.

Part of Jerry Weintraub’s charm appears to be a raconteur-ial inclination and aptitude, which is exhibited in the various examples I have linked to here. Weintraub has led a long, successful rags-to-riches life which continues unabated, as his latest project, a remake of The Karate Kid, is set to pen this summer, and he is intent on bringing the life of legendary music producer John Hammond to the, uh, Silver Screen—lending credence to the book’s title.
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