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Moguls, Monsters, and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business

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A sharp and witty exposé of show business and notorious characters Barry Avrich is a Montreal-born, self-made film producer/director, flamboyant advertising executive, and legendary biographer and connector of moguls and stars. For over three decades he has relentlessly produced films on some of the most notorious show-business titans and also found the time to market a A sharp and witty exposé of show business and notorious characters Barry Avrich is a Montreal-born, self-made film producer/director, flamboyant advertising executive, and legendary biographer and connector of moguls and stars. For over three decades he has relentlessly produced films on some of the most notorious show-business titans and also found the time to market and promote feature films, concerts, and the biggest shows on Broadway. In his memoir, Moguls, Monsters, and Madmen, Barry takes readers from his early days, shaping his brand as a creative adman with the infamous Garth Drabinsky and witnessing the genius of legendary Rolling Stones promoter Michael Cohl, to his acclaimed documentaries on Harvey Weinstein, Lew Wasserman, Bob Guccione, and many others. Go behind the scenes on his most provocative films — like The Last Mogul, Unauthorized, and Filthy Gorgeous — and follow Barry as he moves from the power rooms of Hollywood to the launches of incredible brands while hanging around with royalty, rogues, clients, and confidants. An extraordinary raconteur, Barry spares no one, least of all himself, as he details his extraordinary relationships and encounters with everyone from Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, and Vanity Fair columnist Dominick Dunne to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.


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A sharp and witty exposé of show business and notorious characters Barry Avrich is a Montreal-born, self-made film producer/director, flamboyant advertising executive, and legendary biographer and connector of moguls and stars. For over three decades he has relentlessly produced films on some of the most notorious show-business titans and also found the time to market a A sharp and witty exposé of show business and notorious characters Barry Avrich is a Montreal-born, self-made film producer/director, flamboyant advertising executive, and legendary biographer and connector of moguls and stars. For over three decades he has relentlessly produced films on some of the most notorious show-business titans and also found the time to market and promote feature films, concerts, and the biggest shows on Broadway. In his memoir, Moguls, Monsters, and Madmen, Barry takes readers from his early days, shaping his brand as a creative adman with the infamous Garth Drabinsky and witnessing the genius of legendary Rolling Stones promoter Michael Cohl, to his acclaimed documentaries on Harvey Weinstein, Lew Wasserman, Bob Guccione, and many others. Go behind the scenes on his most provocative films — like The Last Mogul, Unauthorized, and Filthy Gorgeous — and follow Barry as he moves from the power rooms of Hollywood to the launches of incredible brands while hanging around with royalty, rogues, clients, and confidants. An extraordinary raconteur, Barry spares no one, least of all himself, as he details his extraordinary relationships and encounters with everyone from Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, and Vanity Fair columnist Dominick Dunne to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

53 review for Moguls, Monsters, and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    From his early days in Montreal to his work in Toronto in marketing and advertising to his filmmaking career as a producer and director, Barry Avrich has met, worked with or become "close friends" with some of the major players in show business. In Moguls, Monsters and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business, Avrich chronicles his career and drops the name of every single celebrity or player he’s ever worked with in this gossipy yet entertaining memoir. The pace of Barry Avrich’s memoir slows From his early days in Montreal to his work in Toronto in marketing and advertising to his filmmaking career as a producer and director, Barry Avrich has met, worked with or become "close friends" with some of the major players in show business. In Moguls, Monsters and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business, Avrich chronicles his career and drops the name of every single celebrity or player he’s ever worked with in this gossipy yet entertaining memoir. The pace of Barry Avrich’s memoir slows when he details his documentaries as well as his dealings with studio executives such as Hollywood’s Lew Wasserman and Harvey Weinstein. Avrich grew up in Montreal, the grandson of a butcher and the son of a clothing salesman. From an early age he was fascinated by theatre, movies and the deals that got shows made, and says he was reading Variety magazine by the time he was eight. He worked for his family and became a salesman even before he was a teenager, bringing in new business for his uncle’s print shop at the age of 11. Following high school graduation, he studied at Ryerson University and got a degree in theatre production before joining an advertising agency in Toronto. While he could come across as pretentious, pompous or an over-confident salesman, Avrich manages to imbue his stories with a down-to-earth quality that makes them entertaining rather than insufferable. His frank, direct style creates a unique voice; one can almost imagine sitting with him in a dimly lit steakhouse booth, listening to his stories. One chapter is called Family, Mentors and Other Invaluables; another More Boldface: Name-dropping for the Love of It — both highlighting his sense of humour and his pleasure in his accomplishments. Throughout the 1990s, Avrich worked with Garth Drabinsky, producer of such award-winning theatrical productions as Phantom of the Opera and Kiss of the Spider Woman. As the marketing and advertising lead, Avrich worked with the stars of the shows as well as the talent used for advertising and voice-overs, including performers such as James Earl Jones. "My lust for their wisdom and success drove me to stay close and learn their secrets, emulate their style in some cases and hopefully avoid their mistakes." He’s also done a great deal of charity work for several different organizations, sitting on the board of the Toronto International Film Festival, leading the Floating Film Festival and producing fundraisers honouring celebrities for their charity work. Most recently, he raised the funds to install a movie theatre at the Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. "My own good fortune has made me want to give back. I’m a hands-on action guy. I didn’t want to involve myself in good works that would take forever, or sit on do-nothing committees and boards, or sell tables, or simply sign cheques." It’s when he begins to go into details of his documentaries that the book slows down and starts to drag. Despite his obvious passion, there’s just too much detail about moguls and lawyers, including Hollywood’s Lew Wasserman and Harvey Weinstein, as well as Canadian lawyer Eddie Greenspan. Sadly, it slows the flow of the book immeasurably. One section that is interesting is his work with the Winnipeg-born comedian David Steinberg and their struggle for control of the film about Steinberg’s life and career. Despite their rocky relationship, Avrich remains respectful. In fact, if you’re looking for dirt on your favourite celebrities, you’re not going to find it here. Avrich takes the high road, even with people with whom he’s had run-ins when doing business. Avrich appears to have worked hard to earn his reputation and build his career, and this memoir gives film buffs a fun little peek into the complicated world behind the silver screen.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    A Goodreads Giveaway winner. I'm not a big biographies person, but thought I'd give this a try as I've recently read/listened to a few items on Canadians that have influenced the entertainment industry and the book didn't disappoint. Barry Avrich does an excellent job of candidly telling his story, along with an number of wonderful anecdotes, with very few punches pulled. It is a very open and straight-forward account of his time in the industry and the amazing artists and executives that he has A Goodreads Giveaway winner. I'm not a big biographies person, but thought I'd give this a try as I've recently read/listened to a few items on Canadians that have influenced the entertainment industry and the book didn't disappoint. Barry Avrich does an excellent job of candidly telling his story, along with an number of wonderful anecdotes, with very few punches pulled. It is a very open and straight-forward account of his time in the industry and the amazing artists and executives that he has worked with over the years. Well written and a solidly amusing peak behind the entertainment curtain at times, this is definitely worth a read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol Lance

    Barry Avrich entertains us with his behind the scenes Dealings that shaped his career in North America’s entertainment industry. As a child, the author received a lot of great advice from his father, "don't blend in " , taking his fathers passion for life and running with it. Avrich works his way into the entertainment scene by doing whatever he could finally ending up working with the likes of Garth Drabinsky on such blockbuster plays like Phantom of the Opera and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. The au Barry Avrich entertains us with his behind the scenes Dealings that shaped his career in North America’s entertainment industry. As a child, the author received a lot of great advice from his father, "don't blend in " , taking his fathers passion for life and running with it. Avrich works his way into the entertainment scene by doing whatever he could finally ending up working with the likes of Garth Drabinsky on such blockbuster plays like Phantom of the Opera and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. The author also discusses Lew Wasserman and Harvey Weinstein, Lauren Bacall, Dominick Dunne, David Steinberg. #@ecwpress

  4. 4 out of 5

    Koozebane

    I received a free print copy from ECW Press as part of a 49th Shelf giveaway. 3.5 stars. Avrich isn't afraid to name names, which can be both entertaining and discomfiting. (He admits to being an avid fan of Vanity Fair, and his writing is reminiscent of that magazine's tendency to indict Hollywood's excesses while reveling in them.) The first half is more anecdote-heavy, while the second half is more about Avrich's documentary films. (The proofreading isn't as airtight in the second half, for so I received a free print copy from ECW Press as part of a 49th Shelf giveaway. 3.5 stars. Avrich isn't afraid to name names, which can be both entertaining and discomfiting. (He admits to being an avid fan of Vanity Fair, and his writing is reminiscent of that magazine's tendency to indict Hollywood's excesses while reveling in them.) The first half is more anecdote-heavy, while the second half is more about Avrich's documentary films. (The proofreading isn't as airtight in the second half, for some reason.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ferguson

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    Marilyn Stanley

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    John

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    Victoria Westcott

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    Tracee Smith

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    Deanne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neil Mathieson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marisa R. Houtchens

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lissa

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

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    John Kussner

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    Michael

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    Charles

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    Renee

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    Jonathan Mann

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    Cheryl Bradley

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    Bookwhore Extraordinaire!

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    Brooke

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    Todd Rumsey

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    Emiley Allen Bowes

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    Shana M. Essig

  53. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Wood

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