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Robinson, Jeffrey 1945-

ROBINSON, Jeffrey 1945-

PERSONAL: Born October 19, 1945, in Long Beach, NY; son of S. Jesse and Jessie (Roth) Robinson; married Aline Benayoun, 1985; children: Joshua Seth and Celine Chelsea. Education: Temple University, B.S., 1967.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Bell-Lomax Agency, James House, 1 Babmaes St., London SW1Y 6HF, England; Ed Breslin Agency, Ste. 515, 459 Columbus Ave., New York, NY 10024.

CAREER: Writer. Has written for television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, 1960–. Has also appeared on numerous television and radio talk shows in America and Europe and hosted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television version of The Laundrymen. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1967–71; became captain.

MEMBER: International PEN.

AWARDS, HONORS: Benedictine Award, After-Dinner Speaker of the Year, 1990.

WRITINGS:

Bette Davis: Her Stage and Film Career, Proteus, 1982.

Teamwork: Comedy Teams in the Movies, Proteus, 1983.

The Risk Takers: Portraits of Money, Ego, and Power, Allen & Unwin (Winchester, MA), 1985.

Pietrov and Other Games (novel), New English Library (Sevenoaks, England), 1985, published as The Pietrov Game, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Minus Millionaires; or, How to Blow a Fortune, Unwin-Hyman, 1987.

The Ginger Jar (novel), New English Library (Sevenoaks, England), 1987, published as The Plutonium Conspiracy, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1987

Yamani: The Inside Story (biography), Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1987, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Rainier and Grace: An Intimate Portrait, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1989, published as Rainier and Grace, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1989.

The Risk Takers: Five Years On, Mandarin (London, England), 1990.

The End of the American Century: Hidden Agendas of the Cold War, Hutchinson (London, England), 1992.

Bardot: An Intimate Portrait, D. I. Fine (New York, NY), 1994, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1994.

The Margin of the Bulls (novel), Little, Brown (London, England), 1995.

The Laundrymen: Inside Money Laundering, the World's Third-largest Business, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 1996.

The Hotel: Backstairs at the World's Most Exclusive Hotel, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1996, Arcade Publishing (New York, NY), 1997.

The Monks Disciples (novel), Little, Brown (London, England), 1997.

The Manipulators: The Conspiracy to Make Us Buy, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1999.

A True and Perfect Knight (novel), Little, Brown (London, England), 1999.

The Merger: How Organized Crime Is Taking over Canada and the World, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999, published as The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2000.

Prescription Games: Money, Ego, and Power Inside the Global Pharmaceutical Industry, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2000, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

The Sink: Terror, Crime and Dirty Money in the Offshore World, Constable Robinson (London, England), 2002, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

(With Joseph Petro) Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of more than 700 articles and stories to American and British periodicals, including International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, McCalls, Playboy, Barrons, and the Times of London.

SCREENPLAYS, TELEPLAYS AND RADIO PLAYS

(And host) Les Blanchisseurs, Arte (France/Germany), 1998.

(And host) Tomorrow at the Same Time, BBC Radio 4 (London, England), 1999.

Rossum's Cyber Café (Radio Three "Play of the Week"), British Broadcasting Corp. (London, England), 2000.

(And host) The Real Amos & Andy, BBC Radio 4 (London, England), 2002.

Tightrope, Yorkshire Television (Leeds, England), 2002.

Sister Banjo, Quirky Film and Television, 2002.

Notice of Claim, Lanfilms/Valentine Films, 2004.

Like the Wind off Drumcliffe Bay, Lanfilms/Valentine Films, 2004.

The Confession, Lanfilms/Valentine Films, 2005.

ADAPTATIONS: The Laundrymen was adapted for British television. Film adaptations were created of Standing Next to History (adapted as Ronnie & Joe, for LanFilms/Valentine Films) and Bardot (for Pellekam Productions), both 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Jeffrey Robinson is an American novelist as well as an author of nonfiction. His works include biographies of film legends such as Bette Davis and Brigitte Bardot, as well as nonfiction works on international business and history.

Robinson once told CA that he lived from 1971 to 1982 in southern France, where he supported himself by writing magazine features and short stories. He then moved to England to concentrate on writing books. One of these books, The Risk Takers: Portraits of Money, Ego, and Power, is a study of some of Britain's most controversial businessmen. The author makes no attempt in this work to whitewash the activities which led these figures to financial success, and he includes a wide variety of personalities in his seventeen commentaries. Many of his subjects have been scrutinized by national regulatory agencies or the police and castigated by the press. According to Times Literary Supplement reviewer J.H.C. Leach, Robinson "makes some pleasingly astringent comments on his risk-takers, whom he is far from viewing with starry eyes." The Risk Takers was a British bestseller in 1985 partly because, as Leach emphasized, Robinson "has clearly been at pains to get his facts right."

In some of his subsequent books, the author has taken a look at other wealthy, influential personalities. Minus Millionaires; or, How to Blow a Fortune is the offbeat sequel to the Risk Takers. Looking at the reverse side of the coin, Robinson studies the foibles and follies of men and women who have squandered fortunes. Yamani: The Inside Story describes the former oil minister of Saudi Arabia, who for two dozen years was one of the most powerful men on earth. Zaki Yamani, sometimes called the man who ran OPEC, emerges in Yamani as a charming, charismatic, and brilliant leader, educated at Harvard University, politically moderate, comfortable at the highest levels of diplomacy and finance. However, Robinson contrasts this image with that of a man more closely akin to an old-fashioned Bedouin camel trader, a ruthless businessman capable of blackmailing the western world during the oil embargo in 1973 and ultimately responsible for astronomical rises in oil prices in 1979.

In The Merger: How Organized Crime Is Taking over Canada and the World, Robinson investigates the history of organized crime and its evolution into international crime syndicates. Covering such infamous organizations as the Sicilian Mafia and the Chinese Triads, Robinson calls the conglomeration of organized crime syndicates the "'defining issue for the twenty-first century'" as quoted in Kirkus Reviews. Critics were largely positive in their assessment of The Merger. "Robinson provides an exciting and unsettling glimpse of our future as a wired and globalized paradise for thieves," noted a critic for Publishers Weekly.

In his book The Sink: Terror, Crime and Dirty Money in the Offshore World, Robinson examines the practice of hiding money from governments and law enforcement agencies. In his book, the author focuses on offshore banks that provide private services and are situated in countries with liberal banking laws and governments that ask few questions. "The Sink offers a lively anecdotal guide to the laundry business and its related scams extending from cable piracy to internet casinos, pyramid selling, telemarketing fraud, disguised loans, kickbacks, false end-user certificates to something called death-spiralling, a scheme devised to run a company's share price into the ground while hard selling the stock to 'mug' punters," noted a contributor to African Business.

Robinson collaborated with his former college room-mate Joseph Petro to tell Petro's story about serving in the U.S. Secret Service in the book Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service. During his twenty-three years in the service, Petro's duties included guarding former President Ronald Reagan and his wife. Although the authors focus largely on Petro's time in the service's Presidential Protection Division, they also recount his early days in the service following his tour of duty in Vietnam, including his going undercover to keep an eye on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Standing Next to History a "readable and frequently engaging memoir." Grant A. Fredericksen, writing in the Library Journal, called the book "a fascinating portrait of Secret Service life."

In addition to his bestselling nonfiction, Robinson is also the author of acclaimed novels, including A True and Perfect Knight, The Monk's Disciples, and The Margin of the Bulls.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Petro, Joseph, and Jeffrey Robinson, Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

PERIODICALS

African Business, March, 2004, review of The Sink: Terror, Crime and Dirty Money in the Offshore World, p. 65.

Booklist, July, 2000, David Rouse, review of The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime, p. 1981.

Demokratizatsiya, summer, 2003, Johanna Granville, review of The Merger, p. 449.

Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1997, Richard N. Cooper, review of The Laundrymen: Inside Money Laundering, the World's Third-largest Business, p. 177.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2000, review of The Merger, p. 778.

Library Journal, September 1, 1996, Bellinda Wise, review of The Laundrymen, p. 195; May 15, 1997, Jo-Anne Mary Benson, review of The Hotel, p. 91; June 15, 2000, Robert C. Jones, review of The Merger, p. 98; January 1, 2005, Grant A. Fredericksen, review of Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service, p. 129.

Publishers Weekly, July 1, 1996, review of The Laundrymen, p. 51; March 31, 1997, review of The Hotel, p. 52; June 26, 2000, review of The Merger, p. 65; November 15, 2004, review of Standing Next to History, p. 51.

Security Management, August, 1997, Michael J. Koshel, review of The Laundrymen, p. 122; October, 2000, Michael J. Koshel, review of The Merger, p. 106.

Times Literary Supplement, September 6, 1985, J.H.C. Leach, review of The Risk Takers.

ONLINE

Crime Time Magazine, Brian Ritterspak, http://www.crimetime.co.uk/ (November 15, 2005), interview with author.

Now You're Talking, http://www.nyt.co.uk/ (August 29, 2005), profile of author.

Prime Performers, http://www.primeperformers.co.uk/ (August 29, 2005), brief biography of author.

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