Wild Bill Wellman
Drawing on his father's unpublished letters, diaries, and unfinished memoir, William Wellman, Jr. presents a boisterous portrait of the handsome, tough-talking, hard-drinking, uncompromising maverick. Wellman emerges as a juvenile delinquent, a professional ice-hockey player, and a World War I flying ace in the Lafayette Escadrille. As a highly decorated pilot, he fought the enemy. As an in-demand director, he fought producers and the great studio moguls—some with his fists—for the right to make his films his way. His passionate and roguish personality comes vividly to life in his son's hands.
Wild Bill Wellman offers an unprecedented look at a man who directed "like a general trying to break out of a beachhead" and explores his years working with stars including Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, and Clint Eastwood. Full of humorous anecdotes and behind-the-scenes insights from the Golden Age, this riveting biography sheds new light on the life and legacy of a true Hollywood legend.
About the Author
"One of Hollywood's most colorful and talented directors punches above his weight in this rollicking biography. Wellman Jr. (author of The Man and His Wings), an actor, screenwriter, and son of director William Wellman, recounts the latter's picaresque life as a juvenile delinquent in Boston, WWI fighter pilot, and groundbreaking auteur of Hollywood classics including the aviation epic Wings, the gangster melodrama The Public Enemy, the Tinseltown weepie A Star is Born, and the social Western The Ox-Bow Incident. It's a two-fisted saga of a man who never flinched from any foe, be they German aces, barroom brawlers, or Hollywood big shots."—Publishers Weekly
"A film buff's delight . . . gloriously detailed . . . filled with juicy on-set stories . . . An affectionate, candid and extremely well-researched biography of film director William Wellman."—Kevin Howell, Shelf Awareness
"A thorough account of a remarkable career."—Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
"Movies are meant to move, and William Wellman's work demonstrates this in an exemplary fashion. This welcome new biography, Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, briskly and objectively told by his son, does nothing to tame the reputation of the prodigious filmmaker who battled studio head Darryl Zanuck not only verbally in the front office but also with his fists in the field. A Boston Brahmin by birth but a brawler by practice, Wellman remains one of the few Golden Age Hollywood figures still richly deserving of the title (so overused these days but applicable here): Iconic. A terrific read."—Stephen M. Silverman, author of David Lean
"A thoroughgoing biography."—Library Journal
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