Robert Altman: The Oral Biography

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Staff Picks: Robert Altman: American Filmmaker

Mitchell Zuckoff joins a discussion of his new book Robert Altman: The Oral Biography, which presents the visionary director in a cinematic biography that is told in an Altmanesque chorus of voices. 

The conversation also features Kathryn Reed Altman, the late director’s wife of nearly 50 years, and Frank Barhydt, a screenwriter who collaborated with Altman on the films Kansas City and Short Cuts.

After an all-American boyhood in Kansas City, Altman burst on the scene in 1970 with the movie M*A*S*H. He revolutionized American filmmaking and produced masterpieces at an astonishing pace before parting ways with Hollywood. He would later reinvent himself with bold new masterworks before finally being honored by the Academy, which had snubbed him for so long.

The book is based on exclusive interviews with Altman as well as interviews with family and friends, a few enemies, agents, writers, crew members, and the stars who worked with him, including: Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Paul Newman, Julie Christie, Elliott Gould, Martin Scorsese, and Robin Williams.

Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor of journalism at Boston University. As a Boston Globe reporter, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.


Robert Altman: The Oral Biography

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