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 sort as "A Gulliver between television motion picture Producers," he had a hand in additional than 2 hundred long-form narrative tv initiatives from 1989's Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall, to 2000's "Don Quixote" starring John Lithgow. full of rather a lot of the marquee expertise of the earlier century, his lifestyles story—from battling 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 authentic photographer to the Vatican and the final Habsburg court docket. while the Nazis invaded, he fought within the resistance, and prefer a lot of his countrymen he used to be captured and condemned to loss of life. however the advancing purple military freed him earlier than the Germans may well perform the execution. Seeing the risks of the increasing Soviet empire, which additionally took carry of his fatherland 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 solution to the United States. As a photographer for all times and activities Illustrated, he back showcased his Bond-like abilities for chasing experience and dishonest demise via dangling from helicopters, searching great 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 tycoon, he obtained an unbelievable 448 Emmy nods whereas befriending a Who's Who of Hollywood and dealing with the nice boldface actors of our time: Jimmy Cagney gave him his final functionality. He chased George C. Scott (on a bender) via a inn. 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 moving glance again at a lifestyles regularly in development, his awesome 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 necessary American story of a lifestyles lived huge.
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Additional resources for American Dreamer: My Story of Survival, Adventure, and Success
I asked one of the officers why they needed a donkey train to come here in the first place, seeing as how they sat right next to a railroad line. He said the officers refused to settle for army-issue food and had several weeks’ worth of cheese and wine and other local delicacies brought up from a nearby village. We Germans are as good at living, he joked, as we are at killing. In the morning, in shackles, I was put on a train heading east, in a car reserved for special prisoners like me, an armed guard at each end.
This German didn’t know the boy from Adam, so if the donkeys didn’t make it to camp, well, that was fine by him as long as he could keep the coins the German had given him. We all agreed that the boy could keep the coins, and with his help, we set about cutting the donkeys loose and sending them on their way. Or trying to. After about a half hour of pushing and pulling and yelling and sweating and slapping their stubborn behinds, the donkeys stood spread out in an area about the size of a football field dining happily on sugar beet leaves.
His grandfather was Jewish. His father had tried to protect his family, Magyarizing their name and converting to Christianity, but the elephant never left the room. You could change your name, but you couldn’t expunge the records. ” That summer, Jews were ordered into designated Yellow Star Houses—several Jewish families to a room, some sleeping on bare floors. They were only allowed to leave those houses for a couple of hours each afternoon, and their food was rationed—a starvation diet. We did what we could for György and his family, smuggling meat, butter, and tea to them—knowing that we risked imprisonment bringing food to them, and that they risked death for taking it.