Robert Altman—visionary director, hard-partying hedonist, eccentric
family man, Hollywood legend—comes roaring to life in this rollicking
cinematic biography, told in a chorus of voices that can only be called
His outsized life and unique career are revealed as
never before: here are the words of his family and friends, and a few
enemies, as well as the agents, writers, crew members, producers, and
stars who worked with him, including Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Tim
Robbins, Julianne Moore, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Elliott Gould,
Martin Scorsese, Robin Williams, Cher, and many others. There is even
Altman himself, in the form of his exclusive last interviews.
an all-American boyhood in Kansas City, a stint flying bombers through
enemy fire in World War II, and jobs ranging from dog-tattoo
entrepreneur to television director, Robert Altman burst onto the scene
in 1970 with the movie M*A*S*H. He revolutionized American filmmaking, and, in a decade, produced masterpieces at an astonishing pace: McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, The Long Goodbye, 3 Women, and, of course, Nashville.
Then, after a period of disillusionment with Hollywood—as well as
Hollywood’s disillusionment with him—he reinvented himself with a bold
new set of masterworks: The Player, Short Cuts, and Gosford Park. Finally, just before the release of the last of his nearly forty movies, A Prairie Home Companion, he received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement from the Academy, which had snubbed him for so many years.
Zuckoff—who was working with Altman on his memoirs before he
died—weaves Altman’s final interviews, an incredible cast of voices, and
contemporary reviews and news accounts, into a riveting tale of an
extraordinary life. Here are page after page of revelations that force
us to reevaluate Altman as a man and an artist, and to view his
sprawling narratives with large casts, multiple story lines, and
overlapping dialogue as unquestionably the work of a modern genius.
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