Rutman, Leo 1935-
RUTMAN, Leo 1935-
PERSONAL: Born September 23, 1935, in New York, NY; son of Lucien (a singer) and Paula (Gesunterman) Rutman; married Bette Levine, August 11, 1988; children: (previous marriage) Kristofer. Education: Hofstra University, B.A., 1959; Columbia University, M.F.A. (university grantee), 1967; additional study in drama at Columbia University, Brandeis University, and Yale University. Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Home—41 Whittington Rd., White Plains, NY 10607. Agent—Bob Talian, International Creative Management, 40 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Novelist and playwright. Lecturer in English at Hunter College of the City University of New York and Fordham University; lecturer in theatre department at Lehman College of the City University of New York. Affiliated with New School for Social Research. Military service: U.S. Army, 1954-56.
AWARDS, HONORS: Sam S. Shubert Award from Columbia University, 1966-67, for playwriting; Playwright-in-Residence Award from Brandeis University, 1967-68; Joseph S. Levine Film Fellowship from Yale University, 1968-69.
They Got Jack (two-act; first produced Off-Broadway at New Theatre, 1966), Yale University Press, 1969.
Interlude at a Shoe Shine Stand (one-act), first produced Off-Off Broadway at 13th Street Theatre, 1967.
Where Is Che Guevara? (two-act), first produced Off-Broadway at Actors Studio, 1970.
Gott ist Tot! Killed along with James Bond in a Four Car Collision on the Los Angeles Freeway (threeact), L'Action Theatrale, 1972.
Twenty Years after the Man in the Iron Mask, first produced Off-Off Broadway at the Theatre for the New City, 1977.
Also author of Jesus Is a Junkie, produced Off-Off Broadway at Theatre for the New City, A Night Wind (an autobiographical play), The Life and Death of Rogue Robbie Kilkenny (a play about Robert Kennedy), America in Heat, Night Whispers, and Leon Trotsky.
5 Good Boys (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1982.
Spear of Destiny, D. I. Fine (New York, NY), 1988.
American Reich, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1990.
Clash of Eagles, Fawcett Gold Medal (New York, NY), 1990.
Thy Father's Son, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Also author of The World Is Mine at Six O'clock Tonight (a rock musical), South (filmscript), and Good Men Die in the Sunlight (novel).
SIDELIGHTS: Leo Rutman is a playwright and novelist whose books are typically set in New York City, where Rutman has been a lifelong resident. In his first novel, 5 Good Boys, Rutman takes an actual scandal from 1950s New York and fictionalizes the story of five street-smart kids who play for a city college basketball team. Individually and as a team they face greatness but ultimately succumb to scandal in the form of point shaving. Writing in the Library Journal, Aaron Schindler said "this roman à clef, . . . is more a portrait of society's 'also-rans' than a simple sports story." A contributor to Publishers Weekly called the book "an interesting first novel." The reviewer added, "The action is strong and the message is clear."
In Spear of Destiny Rutman tells of a Nazi attempt to obtain the "Spear of Destiny," which is the legendary lance used by a Roman centurion to stab Jesus Christ. Clash of Eagles is Rutman's "what if" tale of Hitler crossing the Atlantic and occupying the entire East Coast of the United States and of a resistance movement that grows to do battle with the Nazi invaders.
Published in 2002, Thy Father's Son takes place in New York City during the Cuban missile crisis of October, 1962. Former lightweight boxing champion Davey Rossi is trying to make a comeback when he learns his Italian Mafia-don father adopted him and killed his Jewish-gangster blood-father as part of the Jewish and Italian mobster wars of the 1920s and 1930s. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews was disappointed that the "characters remain disappointingly thin." Frank Sennett, writing in Booklist, noted that the book had a "compelling narrative" and said it would please "readers looking for a traditional Syndicate story with all the right moves."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, Frank Sennett, review of Thy Father's Son, p. 60.
English Journal, December, 1983, review of 5 Good Boys, p. 68.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Thy Father's Son, p. 989.
Library Journal, March 1, 1982, Aaron Schindler, review of 5 Good Boys, p. 364.
Locus, October, 1990, review of Clash of Eagles, p. 54.
Publishers Weekly, January 29, 1982, review of 5 Good Boys, p. 55; April 15, 1988, review of Spear of Destiny, p. 73.*