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 by way of type 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. choked with quite a bit of the marquee expertise of the earlier century, his existence story—from struggling with opposed to the Nazis to turning into a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated to his tv work—is really amazing.
Robert Halmi was once born in Hungary to a father who served as reliable 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 was once captured and condemned to loss of life. however the advancing purple military freed him earlier than the Germans may possibly 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 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 United States. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like skills for chasing experience and dishonest loss of life through dangling from helicopters, looking monstrous 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 got 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 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 moving glance again at a lifestyles constantly in development, his outstanding tale finds approximately a century of bold and boundless optimism even within the face of bad 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
For four years, from the time I was age ten to fourteen, my father subscribed to Kárpátia—a nearby restaurant and Budapest landmark where Gypsies played violins and I ate dinner, my dog at my feet. Every night, I sat and studied the menu, carefully weighing my choices . . and every night I ordered the same thing: Wiener schnitzel with raspberry sauce and potato salad for me, and a pail of bones for Sultan. 13 American Dreamer After dinner I’d round out the day with a book, getting lost in a fantasy by Jules Verne or an adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan again) in German translation.
Nevertheless, by the end of that summer, after six weeks of training—without actual guns or artillery to train with—some two hundred thousand Hungarian young men and boys had been packed onto trains headed east . . into a buzz saw. All the while, my fellow conspirators and I continued to press our point. Hitler was not our savior; he was our enslaver. But no one was listening, and I grew increasingly frustrated, several times nearly coming to blows with some young Arrow Cross bullyboy spouting off in a nightclub.
They were not hard to spot, and getting into fights with them—and thus getting into their crosshairs—was not the smartest thing for me to do. But I am my father’s son, and I’ve never been one to keep my opinions to myself. I have to admit, in that summer of surreal calm, false hope, and fragile prosperity, I was not immune to the temptations and illusions of peace. I was a young man in love, and Klâri and I spent many hours taking pleasure in each other’s company—sunning along the banks of the Danube, finding shady, secluded spots in the great Városliget Park.
American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success by Robert Halmi Sr., Dan Gabbay