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 sort as "A Gulliver between television motion picture Producers," he had a hand in additional than 2 hundred long-form narrative tv tasks from 1989's Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall, to 2000's "Don Quixote" starring John Lithgow. full of lots of the marquee expertise of the earlier 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 really amazing.
Robert Halmi used to be born in Hungary to a father who served as legitimate photographer to the Vatican and the final Habsburg court docket. whilst the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer lots of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to demise. however the advancing pink military freed him ahead of the Germans might perform the execution. Seeing the risks of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his place of birth 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 method to the USA. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like skills for chasing event and dishonest dying by means of dangling from helicopters, searching mammoth 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 bought an fantastic 448 Emmy nods whereas befriending a Who's Who of Hollywood and dealing with the nice 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 yank dream to the hilt. A fast paced glance again at a existence continually in development, his outstanding tale unearths approximately a century of bold and boundless optimism even within the face of poor odds. It's a narrative of conflict, 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
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. In 1934, at the age of ten, I became the member of an exclusive club: one of only ten Hungarian boys my age selected to participate in an exclusive eight-year high school program at Sárospatak.
Satisfaction was demanded, and they met at dawn, spilling blood instead of wine. The year I turned sixteen, my father took me to my first duel, appointing me as his second. I had gone with my father and his female companion to the Gellért thermal baths and swimming pool. Gellért was, and continues to be, a lovely spot in the heart of Budapest and the site—according to the Turkish occupiers of the sixteenth century—of a magical healing spring. We were all sunning by the pool, my father, his lady friend, and I, when a rather large and careless stranger stepped on my father’s hand.
I’d have to shine my own shoes from now on. Everything I knew about life came to nothing in the face of this war. First and foremost was the question of survival. Looking back, I recognize that my survival depended not on any smart choices I made, but rather on dumb luck. For instance, there was my decision to make an enemy of the most feared and most powerful military machine in the world. There were five of us. Karoly was the oldest and most serious in the group, rarely smiling, the weight of the world sitting on his shoulders.
American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success by Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay