I am incredibly gratified at the responses we’re getting on my book but I always get more than a bit uncomfortable when someone refers to Bringing Back The Old Hollywood as a Hollywood memoir.
Hollywood memoirs are for famous people like Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking. Ms. Fisher is a bona fide celebrity and so people have an interest in what it was like to star as Princess Leia in Star Wars or grow up with famous parents like Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
As for me, well, that’s a different story. As I say in the book:
“I’m writing this book because I was born into The Old Hollywood, grew up in it, worked in it, and just recently realized that my entire life’s work has been a reflection of my yearning to help bring it back. I was indeed blessed to grow up around, know, and work with dozens of stars and personalities from The Old Hollywood.
I take no credit for that circumstance. I was simply born into it. In that regard, I see myself as somewhat like the characters that Woody Allen and Tom Hanks played in Zelig and Forrest Gump. (On a personal level, much more Woody than Tom, that’s for sure.) The lead characters in both of those films just seemed to find themselves immersed in fascinating situations with extraordinary people. I certainly had some wild times with them and I learned a lot as well.”
So, sure, in some ways, my book is a Hollywood memoir, but only because I was born into the right place at the right time and my Dad S. Sylvan Simon (pictured at left) saved Frank Sinatra’s movie career. That event, which happened only a few months before Dad’s sudden death in 1951, caused Frank to become my “godfather” and his doing that in turn set all the wheels in motion that propelled me into my own career as a producer and director.That’s why I am much more like Zelig than Carrie Fisher. Bringing Back the Old Hollywood certainly reflects my adventures with Sinatra, and later in my own career, with Christopher Reeve, Tom Cruise, Madonna, and others. But the reason I wrote the book is not for the reader to view my own life as one would a celebrity, which I most certainly am not. Rather, I wrote the book because I hope that my own failings and miscues will encourage others in these difficult times, and also create a community where we can save movies themselves from the sure extinction they now face if we don’t act soon and dramatically.
And that’s why we’re Bringing Back The Old Hollywood