By Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay
On July 30, 2014, almost immediately after finishing this autobiography, Robert Halmi, the prolific manufacturer of tv video clips and miniseries, died on the age of ninety. Hailed via kind as "A Gulliver between television motion picture Producers," he had a hand in additional than two hundred long-form narrative tv initiatives from 1989's Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall, to 2000's "Don Quixote" starring John Lithgow. full of quite a bit of the marquee expertise of the prior century, his lifestyles story—from scuffling with opposed to the Nazis to changing 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 reputable photographer to the Vatican and the final Habsburg courtroom. whilst the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer a lot of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to demise. however the advancing purple military freed him ahead of the Germans may well perform the execution. Seeing the hazards of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his place of birth 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 approach to the US. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like skills for chasing experience and dishonest loss of life by means of dangling from helicopters, looking vast video 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 rich person, he acquired an astounding 448 Emmy nods whereas befriending a Who's Who of Hollywood and dealing with the good boldface actors of our time: Jimmy Cagney gave him his final functionality. He chased George C. Scott (on a bender) via a inn. 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 yankee dream to the hilt. A fast paced glance again at a lifestyles consistently in development, his impressive tale unearths 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 imperative American story of a existence lived huge.
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Extra info for American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success
Of course I knew it was all make-believe, but I wondered what it was really like there, in America. With its lovelorn apes, impossibly tall buildings, and beautiful breezy dancers, it appealed to me in the same way the circus did. America was a strange, wonderful, out-of-this-world place that I couldn’t imagine ever being a part of. The next phase of my education began the same year I moved in with my father, 1934, in a small town rich in culture some three hours out of Budapest. It’s called Sárospatak—otherwise known as the Athens of the River Bodrog, a fortress of learning in Hungary since 1531 when the Reformed Church College was founded there.
We wanted to talk about the possibility of forging documents and identity cards—see if we could help a few “undesirables” get out of Budapest. But within minutes the four of us would be counted among those same undesirables. I was the last to arrive, bathing in sweat, and I barely had time to shake hands with the others when six Hungarian policemen and one man in plain clothes—he had Gestapo written all over him—burst into the basement. I don’t know whether we had been denounced or if our time had simply come.
We had eight bullets. And now we had a dozen donkeys. This was our chance. Another half hour of rounding up and wrangling and we headed for the camp. The idea was to see how well it was guarded, and if we could figure out a way of doing it, free at least some of its laborers. Our Trojan horses—the donkeys—would be our ticket in. As we began our ascent into the foothills, Karoly handed me the pistol. As mastermind of this plan, I’d been elected ringleader of the band as well. Just before dusk we spotted the camp, over a hill, in a clearing alongside some railroad tracks that cut through a long valley.