The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.
- Audrey Hepburn

George Raft

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 4th, 2012, 7:34 am

Again, charliechaplinfan, many thanks for your kind words. I know there were two previous bios done on Raft, one of which George himself disapproved and, of course, the Yablonsky book, in which George participated. Of course certain bits of info were culled from these books and cross-referenced, especially when dealing with Georgie Ranft's younger days in New York, where information is hard to come by. Where I lucked out was securing input from people like Mack Gray's nephew, who provided a lot of information not commonly known about Raft, along with Luellen Smiley, the daughter of Allen Smiley, the man seated next to Bugsy Siegel the night Siegel was killed. Also, a number of celebrities spoke of their affection towards George - and really no one from Lloyd Nolan (whom I interviewed back in '74) to Michelle Phillips had a bad word to say against him. He was admittedly a pretty rough guy in his earlier years but really seemed to mellow out as he aged. In fact, from what I was able to gauge, he became one of the best-liked men in Hollywood.

As for tackling another show biz bio, I've published 6 but, frankly, it's a lot of work for generally not much financial reward. As I said, I felt I HAD to write George's book - more a labor of love which I enjoyed because of my great admiration for him - but there really isn't anyone out there (who hasn't already had a book written about him/her) that I think I could feel the same passion towards.

Besides, my latest books have all been fiction, and writing these IS a lot of fun.

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 4th, 2012, 3:42 pm

I should imagine fiction is a lot more and gives you a lot more freedom. I'm intrigued now about George, I've ordered my copy, I want to read what it is about him that made you want to write it so much. I'm always pleased when my screen stars turn out to be nice guys, especially nice guys with a story behind them.

I've thought about my own question today about who is ripe for a biography, I think Fredric March tops my pile. A great screen actor and by all accounts excellent on stage too. I'm sure everyone will have their own favourite that they would like to read about. I'm looking forward to your book dropping through my postbox :D
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 6th, 2012, 2:40 pm

I'll be very eager to hear your comments, charliechaplinfan. Please give me your review when you've had the chance to read the book.

I know Citadel Books did a volume called "The Films of Fredric March" some years back, which offered a pretty detailed biography in addition to March's film work. The sad thing is that as we move further away from Classic Hollywood, these names become ever more faded, except to the dedicated who don't buy into the "flavor of the week" contemporary "star" system.

It's funny, but when I was writing the Raft book and would mention it to people, most had no idea who George Raft was.

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 7th, 2012, 1:24 pm

I have The Films of Fredric March, the only book I could get about him and it is well done, I have a couple of others in the collection, mostly lesser known stars. I wish the films series had done a book on Charles Boyer but at least he does have a biography by Larry Swindell.

I'm always pleased when a lesser known Hollywood personage has a biography written, it means someone cares and that our niche of Classic cinema is still blossoming. It doesn't surprise me that many don't know who he was, I suppose to the non film lover he might be best known for his role in Some Like It Hot, Marilyn still having many fans, it's where I started but I found a whole industry I loved.

I will certainly give you my thoughts, Amazon did say it would take a couple of weeks to deliver, I'm really looking forward to getting to know George Raft better. I can feel another collection coming on or at least another strand to my list at Love film, George Raft movies.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 7th, 2012, 1:58 pm

Some years back I was in contact with Marc Lawrence about working with him on a book. He'd self-published an autobiography "Long Time, No See", but overall the book dealt less with his film career than his blacklisting and subsequent self-imposed European exile. What I proposed was a book that would focus solely on Marc's incredible film career and his memories of some of the actors and directors he'd worked with since 1932. (After all, the guy worked with everyone from Bud Abbott to George Zucco!) Marc was keen on the idea (though his companion at the time really wanted to stress that we keep away from HUAC, which was fine with me). The upshot was that I sent out query letters to several suitable book publishers who I thought would jump at the project . . . and got rejections from every single one. Seems there was no interest in Marc's story, and yet just based on some of the fascinating backstage stuff he told me, his book could have been one of the best and most entertaining celebrity bios of them all. Mighty disappointing.

Now if I had proposed a bio on Ashton Kutcher . . .

User avatar
CineMaven
Posts: 3818
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 9:54 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: George Raft

Postby CineMaven » May 7th, 2012, 2:33 pm

I know it takes money to do an undertaking like a book. That Marc Lawrence book would have been welcomed by classic film fans. (Loved him in "The Ox Bow Incident" and "The Asphalt Jungle").

Tiger Beat might pay for Ashton's story...but then you'd have to sell your soul to the Devil. :twisted:
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 8th, 2012, 5:03 am

Ashton who?? Actually to my shame I do know who he is. I'd have loved that book on Marc Lawrence too. Well written books which were published in smaller numbers hold their price on second hand book sites. Mass market biographies can be snapped up for a penny soon after their publication.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 8th, 2012, 9:58 am

Ashton . . . who , I believe, sums it up just about perfectly.

User avatar
knitwit45
Posts: 4720
Joined: May 4th, 2007, 9:33 pm
Location: Gardner, KS

Re: George Raft

Postby knitwit45 » May 8th, 2012, 10:03 am

Believe me, Alison, you haven't missed a thing. he was the boy husband of Demi Moore (never could figure out how she could dump Bruce Willis for him). :shock: :roll: :shock: :roll:

User avatar
CineMaven
Posts: 3818
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 9:54 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: George Raft

Postby CineMaven » May 8th, 2012, 10:16 am

Boy husband...Ha!!! Cute. Well...at the very least Demi didn't have to marry Ash for what she could have had for free. :roll:

D'Ohhhhhhhhhhh!!!
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

User avatar
charliechaplinfan
Posts: 9087
Joined: January 15th, 2008, 9:49 am

Re: George Raft

Postby charliechaplinfan » May 9th, 2012, 5:41 am

I have come across him in the newspapers but to my credit I've only once caught him on TV, what an annoying voice, it was enough to make me steer clear. I'm no big fan of Bruce Willis but he's an 100% more of my kind of man.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 9th, 2012, 9:34 am

Well, Georgie Raft may not be anyone's candidate for World's Greatest Actor, but, dammit, he had class, presence and personality, and when he was in his element, working with top directors and strong co-players, he did deliver the goods. So-called "talents" like Ashton Kutcher aren't of a caliber to even shine Georgie's spats.

And I ain't speaking just specifically about Kutcher, though his "flavor of the month" status seems to be the most annoying.

BTW: I almost gagged (maybe I did) when I read "Kootch" was the highest paid actor on TV this season, for his half-hour barf bit on that Charlie Sheen-evacuated show "Two and a Half Men". I mean, holy crow, his salary topped even a veteran like Ted Danson!!!

RedRiver
Posts: 4209
Joined: July 28th, 2011, 9:42 am

Re: George Raft

Postby RedRiver » May 9th, 2012, 10:24 am

I'm no Ashton fan either, but at least I know who he is. Half the young celebrities, I couldn't even identify. I hear Justin this and Jennifer that, and think, Who the Hell are these people?

User avatar
CineMaven
Posts: 3818
Joined: September 24th, 2007, 9:54 am
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Contact:

Re: George Raft

Postby CineMaven » May 9th, 2012, 10:59 am

They will have a very short shelf life as opposed to Gable, and Chaplin and Tracy and Hepburn, etc.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

http://www.megramsey.com

Western Guy
Posts: 1702
Joined: March 26th, 2012, 1:19 pm
Location: Winnipeg, Canada

Re: George Raft

Postby Western Guy » May 9th, 2012, 11:29 am

Well, CineMaven -- kinda yes, you'd like to think. But in my experience (and it can't get more depressing than this), when I mention classic Hollywood names to many of my younger friends - and not THAT much younger than myself, they don't know who I'm talking about.

Bogart, Cagney, Flynn, Gable, Tracy --- huh???

Adam Sandler, "Kootcher", Jack Black, any gangsta street rapper who suddenly has become a mega-"movie star" --- nearly always an instant recognition.

Bottom line: I am an anachronism and damned proud of it!!!


Return to “The People of Film”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests