Friday, August 27, 2010

When I Stop Talking You'll Know I'm Dead

Publisher's Summary. Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'"

In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.

And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come."

As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead."

Jerry Weintraub is the ultimate Hollywood self-made man rising from relatively modest beginnings in the Bronx, to working with Elvis and Sinatra, to being invited to sleepovers in the Whitehouse. In Weintraub’s memoir When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead, the author shares his colorful stories of his rise to the top of the industry.

I listened to the audio book which is read by the author. Be warned if listening to the audio version that the author’s voice is not honey smooth, but rather features a fairly heavy Bronx accent. Still what Weintraub lacks in tonal qualities he more than makes up for in enthusiasm.

It is easy to see how he became a Hollywood dealmaker extraordinaire. Weintraub is a rare visionary who is able to think quickly on his feet. For instance, he once threw together a mega concert show in five days just to lift old Blue eyes out of the blues. But according to Weintraub, however, his true gift is being persistent. For instance, he called Col. Tom Parker for the better part of a year seeking to take Elvis on tour. Each time he was rebuffed. It was only a year later that Parker finally took him up on his offer. Now that’s tenacity!

When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead is an entertaining memoir that offers numerous revealing glimpses of some of the greatest celebrities of today and yesterday.

Review copy provided courtesy of the publisher.


  1. Sounds like a really great insiders look at a totally different world than the one I live in.

  2. i love memoirs and this guy sounds like he clawed his way to the top! i've seen his name in movie credits but never knew much about him. sounds like an entertaining read. :)

    -nat @book, line, and sinker

    ps. could you please allow NAME/URL comments on your blog? some of the blogger folks have that option and it makes leaving a comment for non-blogger bloggers much easier. thanks so much.