Herman Mankiewicz's life wasn't all drunken bets and witty repartee. After all, he wrote Citizen Kane. Life in 1930s "Eretz Demille."
To every author who seemed too cautious—which was nearly every author he knew—Roth gave the same advice. “You are not a nice boy,” he told the British playwright David Hare. His friend Benjamin Taylor’s memoir is . . . nice.
On-screen, Mel Brooks was hysterically funny. Off-screen, he could quickly shift to morose or mean.
Ben Hecht’s life should come with a warning label: Biographer, beware. A trickster, a prankster, a cool Wildean ironist, he was always a fast-moving target.