Born in Chicago, Art Linson grew up in Los Angeles. He graduated with a law degree from UCLA in 1967 but never practiced.

As a third-year law student, he attended a private Hollywood screening at the home of producer Harold Mirisch. Art decided he wanted to be a producer.

The first movie Linson produced was 1975's Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins. His other credits include The Untouchables, Heat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Scrooged, Fight Club and Heist. He published his first book in 1995, A Pound of Flesh: Perilous Tales of How to Produce Movies in Hollywood. His second book came out in 2002, What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Front Line.


I've justed finished reading Art Linson's new book, What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Front Line. It's a fun book but I'm wondering why most books about Hollywood are bitter? What is it about the industry that makes people cynical and crude?

An LA reader writes on Amazon.com: "After tale after tale of bitterness, one is left with this overwhelming question: Why'd you ever bother with it, Art?"

A New York reader writes Amazon.com: "I'm a Hollywood junkie, so I enjoyed this book. Art Linson isn't nearly the natural storyteller that William Goldman is, meaning the book isn't quite the joy Goldman's books were to read, but, on the other hand, Art is a PRODUCER and he sees films further through than Goldman and his stories are a deeper vision. The device used in the book, of the author talking to another has-been, is (as it was noted) very, VERY annoying and I suggest you just skip it by (it adds nothing). The book is a quick, one-sitting read, and it's as frivolous as a cookie wafer. Art certainly whines -- and I'm sure "Great Expectations" bombed because it was a bad movie, not because "Titanic" had the same scene in it (Art even implies the naked-drawing idea was stolen!) -- but if Art wasn't a whiny guy who took no responsibility...he wouldn't have written this book. So the trade-off is okay with me."

Publishers Weekly writes: "Although Linson's book lacks the polish of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade or the all-around savvy of Peter Bart and Peter Guber's Shoot Out, it provides a decent bird's-eye view on what a producer actually does and the pressures it involves."

What? Shoot Out was a total bore. It added nothing. Linson's book is far superior.

Dade Hayes writes for Variety 5/17/02: "A former top film exec at Fox once divulged that there was one book he reached for upon learning that Art Linson got a production deal at the studio -- and it wasn't the Bible. He opened up "A Pound of Flesh," Linson's kiss-off to his onetime hosts at Warner Bros. Anyone who has produced pics like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "The Untouchables" and "Heat" certainly has talent, the exec reasoned, but "I just knew someday he'd end up writing a book about us." Someday has just arrived in the form of "What Just Happened?" Linson's Fox run mixed worthy efforts like "Fight Club" and "The Edge" with disasters such as "Great Expectations" and "Pushing Tin." His recap makes for delicious, one-sitting reading. Be warned, however: Budding filmmakers who absorb Linson's message will be like Air Force recruits after reading "Catch-22."