By Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay
On July 30, 2014, almost immediately after finishing this autobiography, Robert Halmi, the prolific manufacturer of tv videos and miniseries, died on the age of ninety. Hailed via style 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. jam-packed with lots of the marquee expertise of the prior century, his existence story—from battling opposed to the Nazis to turning into a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated to his tv work—is actually 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. while the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer lots of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to dying. however the advancing purple military freed him earlier than the Germans may possibly perform the execution. Seeing the hazards of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his native land 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 United States. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like skills for chasing event and dishonest dying via dangling from helicopters, searching enormous online 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 wealthy person, he bought an brilliant 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 resort. 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 amazing 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 fundamental American story of a existence lived huge.
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Extra info for American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success
The last time we got away was in August 1944. Returning to Budapest early in the evening on a Monday, I walked Klâri home along the promenade of the Danube, the sun reflecting off the river. For once it actually looked blue, reflecting our mood that night. She told me it was a beautiful evening and we should spend it together. But as much as I wanted to, I told her I couldn’t. I had to meet my friends. Why? she wanted to know. What was so important about my friends? Of course I couldn’t tell her.
And he didn’t know what to do with me either. I can’t blame him. He was a bachelor, used to working all day in his studio and playing all night in the clubs and cafes. What the hell was he going to do with some bright-eyed ten-year-old kid? Simple. He was going to turn him into a man. And I mean that in the best sense. My father never talked down to me, never hid the truth from me, always treated me as though I was worthy of his honesty and respect. When I wasn’t off at boarding school or summer camp, he set about to build my character, using my blood, sweat, and tears for bricks and mortar.
But as our efforts fell on deaf ears, we couldn’t get any traction. In the summer of 1942, the general response in Budapest to the war was apathy. There were no bullets or bombs flying here—the only thing booming was the economy, Hungary’s farms and factories growing rich and fat from the demand to feed and oil the German war machine. Hungary had put all its eggs in the German basket. And why not? The Wehrmacht was having its way with Europe and now Asia. If the Germans and Russians wanted to spend their summer killing each other off, that was their business.
American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success by Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay