By Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay
On July 30, 2014, presently after finishing this autobiography, Robert Halmi, the prolific manufacturer of tv video clips and miniseries, died on the age of ninety. Hailed via type as "A Gulliver between television motion picture Producers," he had a hand in additional than 2 hundred long-form narrative tv initiatives from 1989's Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall, to 2000's "Don Quixote" starring John Lithgow. jam-packed with quite a bit of the marquee expertise of the prior century, his existence story—from scuffling with opposed to the Nazis to turning into a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated to his tv work—is actually amazing.
Robert Halmi was once born in Hungary to a father who served as legitimate photographer to the Vatican and the final Habsburg court docket. whilst the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer lots of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to demise. however the advancing crimson military freed him prior to the Germans may possibly perform the execution. Seeing the hazards of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his place of origin in an army dictatorship, he became heel and joined the OSS to struggle the autumn of the Iron Curtain. In 1951, with $5 in his pocket and a Leica round his neck, he made his technique to the USA. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like abilities for chasing event and dishonest demise via dangling from helicopters, looking giant online game in Africa with dictators, blowing himself up, marooning himself on a glacier for 3 weeks, or even portray Marilyn Monroe's bare physique for a photograph shoot. within the 3rd act of his rollicking existence, as a television tycoon, he got an brilliant 448 Emmy nods whereas befriending a Who's Who of Hollywood and dealing with the nice boldface actors of our time: Jimmy Cagney gave him his final functionality. He chased George C. Scott (on a bender) via a resort. Omar Sharif did the Twist for him. He watched Patrick Stewart approximately drown at the again of an animatronic whale, and Isabella Rossellini braved a herd of rampaging elephants for him. He has lived the yank dream to the hilt. A fast moving glance again at a lifestyles consistently in growth, his notable tale finds approximately a century of bold and boundless optimism even within the face of poor odds. It's a narrative of warfare, love, and ambition, the necessary American story of a existence lived huge.
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Additional info for American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success
My father was no politician, but he was Hungarian—and the moment someone disrespected him or a woman in his company, the Attila the Hun in him came out swinging. And there was blood. One time someone at a restaurant spilled red wine on my father’s girlfriend. Dad calmly signaled a waiter, ordered a bottle, and poured the entire contents over the offender. Satisfaction was demanded, and they met at dawn, spilling blood instead of wine. The year I turned sixteen, my father took me to my first duel, appointing me as his second.
But unless he was among the several thousand Jews saved or shielded by Raoul Wallenberg—the Swedish diplomat serving in Budapest who issued protective passports to those in danger—I suspect that an overdose of sleeping pills was the best possible fate that my friend could have met. August was brutally hot. Klâri and I had just returned from Lake Balaton, and we walked along the Danube. I kissed her good-bye, promising to meet her later for dinner. The four of us—György gone now—were meeting in the basement of the printing press.
She didn’t know what I needed or wanted from her, so she gave me cherry soup. And I was perfectly happy. From the ages of four to six, I spent my days in kindergarten. The school was run by a German, meaning that if I knew what was good for me, I’d learn to speak German, which I did. After kindergarten, until I was ten, came what we in Hungary called preschool. At the end of each day I’d come home, where some young women hired by Mother would feed me and put me to bed, my mom off doing whatever it was that show business people did all night.
American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success by Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay