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Boorstin, Jon 1946-

BOORSTIN, Jon 1946-

PERSONAL: Born 1946; married Leni Isaacs (a public affairs manager); children: Ariel, Eric. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1967; attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and California Institute for the Arts.


ADDRESSES: Agent—David Warocow, Camden-ITG, 822 South Robertson, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90035.

CAREER: Writer and producer for films and television. Associate producer, All the King's Men; producer, Dream Lover and Dark Shadows (series), National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC). Documentary filmmaker. Lecturer for U.S. Information Agency in Asia; teacher of screenwriting and film production, National Film and Television Institute of India.


MEMBER: International PEN, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Writers Guild of America, Phi Beta Kappa.


AWARDS, HONORS: Academy Award nomination, best documentary short, 1974, for The Exploratorium; Grand Prix, Festival International du Film Fantastique, 1986, for Dream Lover; Prix du Public, International Imax-Omnimax Film Festival, 1989, for To the Limit; other awards for documentary films include Chris awards, Cine Golden Eagle awards, and a Blue Ribbon from IFPA Film and Video Communicators; Knox fellow in England; Fulbright fellow in India.


WRITINGS:

Dream Lover (screenplay), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1986.

The Hollywood Eye: What Makes Movies Work, Cornelia & Michael Bessie Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Making Movies Work: Thinking like a Filmmaker, Silman-James Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1995.

Pay or Play, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1997.

The Newsboys' Lodging House; or, The Confessions of William James (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2003.


Screenplays include Love and Again, Brother's Keeper, and Please Please ME. Author of Mercy Street (pilot), NBC, The Great Satan (miniseries), Home Box Office, and Dark Shadows (series), NBC. Documentary films include The Exploratorium, 1974, and To the Limit, for Nova. Author of the column "Letters to My Mother-in-Law," Los Angeles Times.


SIDELIGHTS: Jon Boorstin has worked in television and film, as a producer of both television series and films, and netted an Academy Award nomination for best short documentary early in his career as the director of The Exploratorium. Referred to as a "gentle Hollywood satire," by Rhonda Johnson of Entertainment Weekly, Boorstin's first novel, Pay or Play, offers readers a humorous look into behind-the-screen Hollywood as it follows the development and production of a Hollywood screenplay. After a young Los Angeles mail clerk fishes Elmo Zwalt's screenplay, "The Agonizer," out of the trash, the script passes through many hands before it finally comes into shape as a dismal catastrophe. "The full-scale farce that results is surprisingly good-natured, portraying Hollywood as a place where talent can still command attention, luck can throw the game, and good buzz is still tantamount to good taste," continued Johnson. David Bartholomew of Library Journal called Boorstin's debut novel, "lively, droll, smart, and great fun," while a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that the novel "is so good it reads like a documentary even when events are patently absurd and incredible."

In The Newsboys' Lodging-House; or, The Confessions of William James Boorstin relays the story of American philosopher William James and the nervous breakdown he experienced as a young college graduate. Suffering a bout of depression after graduating from Harvard University and beginning a career in medicine, in 1908 James was locked away in an asylum by his concerned father. While in this seclusion, James finds hope in the books of Horatio Alger and decides to flee the asylum, determined to locate Alger in New York City. When he finally does reach the inspirational author, James aids Alger with his work in a newsboys' shelter. There he finds himself caught up in a difficult situation and forced to defend a young newsboy who has been accused of robbing the Vanderbilt mansion where the boy's sister, Emma, works. James and Emma have, in the meantime, had a short love affair, and James's life is complicated even further when he receives news that he may be the father of Emma's unborn child.


A contributor to Kirkus Reviews commented that although The Newsboys' Lodging-House "becomes unnecessarily convoluted and unravels toward the end" after a fast-paced beginning, "Boorstin has a good feel for academe and the underworld alike, and his old New York is pungent and real." Ellen Loughran, reviewing the work in Booklist, stated that "This intelligent novel proffers a flawed but interesting reading experience for historical fiction fans."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2003, Ellen Loughran, review of The Newsboys' Lodging-House; or, The Confessions of William James, p. 1046.

Entertainment Weekly, April 4, 1997, Rhonda Johnson, review of Pay or Play, p. 79.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of The Newsboys' Lodging-House; or, The Confessions of William James, p. 4.

Library Journal, January, 1997, David Bartholomew, review of Pay or Play, p. 142.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1997, review of Pay or Play, p. 53.*

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