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 kind as "A Gulliver between television motion picture Producers," he had a hand in additional than two hundred long-form narrative tv tasks from 1989's Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall, to 2000's "Don Quixote" starring John Lithgow. full of a lot of the marquee expertise of the earlier century, his lifestyles story—from struggling with opposed to the Nazis to changing into a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated to his tv work—is really amazing.
Robert Halmi used to be born in Hungary to a father who served as authentic photographer to the Vatican and the final Habsburg courtroom. whilst the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer lots of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to loss of life. however the advancing pink military freed him sooner than the Germans might perform the execution. Seeing the risks of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his fatherland in an army dictatorship, he grew to become 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 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, searching giant 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 lifestyles, as a television wealthy person, he got an impressive 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 lodge. 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 moving glance again at a existence consistently in growth, his notable tale finds approximately a century of bold and boundless optimism even within the face of negative odds. It's a narrative of struggle, love, and ambition, the vital American story of a lifestyles lived huge.
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Extra resources for American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success
We knew that we were part of something bigger than ourselves. And that it was time we did something bigger. We had a pistol. 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.
Even Pope Pius XI invited my old man, son of a cheese farmer, to take his portrait in the Vatican. But for all the faces and figures who sat before my father’s cameras, there is one that stands out. A spring day in 1921, my father leaned forward to press his eye to the camera and saw a striking, young, dark-eyed actress staring back at him. I might not have been conceived in that instant, but the possibility of me certainly was. Three years later, one floor down from the studio where he took a picture of that actress, the possibility became flesh, combining in some uncertain measure his rebellion and ambition with her theatrical, self-creative force.
His scream was chilling. We rushed over to lift the limb off him and saw that the bones in his leg had been crushed and mangled. I didn’t speak Polish, but the guard in charge understood a little German. I told him they had to get the boy to a doctor. Take him to the nearest village. Take the boy to the German officers, I said, and they would bring him to a field hospital. I didn’t know I had been yelling until the guard put his pistol in my face and told us all to move back. He said he would take care of it.
American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success by Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay