Producer Daniel H. Blatt

Producer Daniel H. Blatt chooses his words carefully, like a lawyer.

We sit down at his home on Monday, January 7, 2002, and talk about his life and work.

Blatt has a younger sister Ruth Blatt Merkatz (who's got a Ph.D. in nursing and started the female section of the FDA), and younger brother Philip (a doctor).

Daniel stands 5'8" and walks with a severe limp due to nerve damage in his right leg. He still plays golf regularly (handicap 11).

Born in 1937, Blatt attended Philips Andover Academy from 1951-55. In 1959, he graduated from Duke and in 1962 from Northwestern University School of Law.

He then worked for various law firms in New York City as well as served on the civil rights group Lawyers' Constitutional Defense Committee in Jackson, Mississippi in 1964. The LCDC recruited and dispatched attorneys to represent freedom riders and civil rights protesters arrested in the Deep South as well as supported the ACLU's amicus brief in Loving v. Virginia, the landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

After serving on a thousand legal cases, Blatt burned out on his profession and moved into entertainment. From 1970-75, he was Vice President of Palomar Pictures, overseeing 1972's Sleuth, 1972's The Heartbreak Kid, 1974's The Taking of Pelham 123 and 1974's The Stepford Wives.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1976, Blatt independently produced seven feature films (1985's Let's Get Harry, 1983's Cujo, 1982's Independance Day, 1980's The Howling, 1977's I Never Promised You A Rose Garden) and almost 30 TV movies including 1999's The Virginian, 1995's Kissinger and Nixon, 1989's Common Ground, 1987's Sworn To Silence, 1986's A Winner Never Quits, 1984's V- The Final Battle, 1983's Sadat, 1977's Raid On Entebbe, and 1976's A Circle Of Children.

Judy Brownstein Blatt of Los Angeles divorced Daniel in 1991. They have two daughters, Jessica, 22 years old, and Chelsea, 18. A graduate of George Washington University, Jessica, now works at the Endeavor Talent Agency.

Judy received an M.A. in psychology in 1994 after a TV/film acting career, and now works in the mental health field in Santa Monica.

I walk up to Blatt's home at 9:50 AM. His garage is filled with trash from the extensive remodeling going on inside. I knock on the door and when it opens, I'm jumped on by a friendly red dog. Blatt's beautiful blonde assistant brings me in and I wait on the couch for 20 minutes, playing with the dog.

Daniel finishes his phone call to Germany and we sit down at his table while workmen labor around us.

Luke: "Has your background in criminal law helped you deal with Hollywood?"

Daniel: "Not really. Though I've done a lot of lawyer shows."

Luke: "Which projects have had the most meaning for you?"

Daniel pauses for 30 seconds and looks through his resume. He speaks in a low voice. His words are few initially until he gathers steam.

"I like them all. The first one I really produced, The Raid On Entebbe, had a lot of meaning to me.

"My parents (Kurt and Trudy) fled the Nazis in Germany in 1934. I grew up in a household where persecution of the Jews was drilled into my soul overtly and inovertly.

"My father was a doctor working at a Jewish hospital. Shortly after the Nazis took over, he noticed regulations for Jewish doctors. He took my mother to Paris for their honeymoon for two weeks and then met his brother Max in Barcelona. Then they came to America.

"After my parents arrived, they brought my mother's side of the family over to Buenos Aires, Argentina. My mother didn't see her family for 17 years.

"My father brought his side of the family to America. They didn't have any money. Travel wasn't easy. There was a depression.

"The Raid On Entebbe represented the Jews reacting to victimhood in a positive way. I grew up in a very Jewish house. Then after I was Bar Mitvahed, I said 'enough of this' and I moved away from it. And then suddenly to be brought back into this thing was almost like a gift, a circle that I'd completed. Also, Sadat was part of that cycle."

Luke: "Did working on that Entebbe movie affect your Jewish identity afterwards?"

Daniel: "Yes, that's what I was trying to say."

Luke: "How?"

Daniel: "It was coming back to my roots."

Luke: "So did you start keeping shabbos?"

Daniel laughs. "Let's not go that far."

Luke: "Have you visited Israel?"

Daniel: "A couple of times.

"The raid on Entebbe happened July 14, 1976. We started shooting in October. And it aired on January 14th, 1977."

Luke: "Did you have to buy the rights?"

Daniel: "No, it was a big thing. Everybody wanted this story. Every studio. There were three Entebbe movies made."

Marvin J. Chomsky directed the first Entebbe movie to air - 1976's Victory at Entebbe which was shot in four days.

"The bargain-basement production values that mark this quickie shoot-em-up, filmed and released literally months after the dramatic Israeli commando raid," writes John Barnes on IMDB.com, "would be enough to consign this turkey to the dustbin of TV history. But it gets worse. The audience can play spot-the-star as Hollywood legends Liz Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Helen Hayes etc., turn in embarrassing cameos. Unintentional hilarity is the only possible response to the scene in which Linda Blair offers a box of chocolates to the flight crew and the terrorists holding them at gunpoint. Mirth gives way to anger, however, when the film depicts unruly hostages being deliberately shot down by Israeli soldiers during the rescue scene! With rescuers like these, who needs hijackers? Raid on Entebbe which came out a year later with Charles Bronson is much the superior account of this operation."

Raid received glowing reviews such as this one at IMDB.com: "This was a superb account of the Israeli raid to rescue Jewish hostages held at the Entebbe airport after a hijack in 1976. The dilemma facing the Israeli government as it tried to decide on a course of action was believably portrayed, the plight of the hostages seemed very real, and, even though one knows what the outcome will be (this, is, after all based on an historical event) I was glued to my seat watching. The cast was excellent (I thought Yaphet Kotto did a marvellous job of portraying Idi Amin.) Even Charles Bronson (whom I have never considered a particularly good actor) did a creditable job as the Israeli officer in overall command of the operation."

Menahem Golan directed 1977's English/Hebrew Entebbe movie Mitzva Yonatan.

Daniel: "The Sadat miniseries was difficult to make. We shot it over 42 days in Mexico. The Egyptians didn't like it for three reasons. One, it was obviously pro-Israel. Two, they felt it didn't portray them accurately. Three, Sadat was a hero to the world but not to them."

Luke: "Have you ever been to Egypt?"

Daniel: "No. I could never go now."

Luke: "You'd never get out."

Daniel: "I thought my 1989 miniseries Common Ground was good. It was adapted from Anthony J. Lukas's Pulitzer Prize winning book."

From IMDB.com: "Fact based story about the racial tensions that occurred in Boston in the 1970's because of court ordered busing to end desegregation. The story focuses on an African-American mother determined to get her children a quality education and a white lawyer trying to deal with inner city problems."

Daniel: "It's a story of America trying to deal with its racism and failing."

Luke: "How would you feel if a bunch of blacks suddenly moved into your neighborhood?"

Daniel smiles with the recognition of a painful truth. He chuckles. "It would reduce the property values."

Luke: "Did you come to any personal conclusions on bussing because of this project?"

Daniel: "Yes, that it doesn't quite work."

Luke: "Another beautiful liberal ideal that doesn't work."

Daniel: "I did a lot of these stories about real people who believed in something and tried to effect change."

Blatt's proud of several movies he made with Christian themes like Miracle On The 17th Green, A Town Without Christmas, and Tecumseh: The Last Warrior.

Luke: "In your Kissinger and Nixon movie, did you deal with Kissinger?"

Daniel: "Only when he was trying to sue me."

Luke: "Why did he threaten to sue you?"

Daniel: "Because he said that what we were saying about him wasn't true."

Luke: "Wasn't it based on the book by Walter Isaacson?"

Daniel: "Yes it was."

Luke: "Why didn't he sue Isaacson?"

Daniel: "A book is read by a few thousand people. A TV movie is seen by millions of people.

"Our movie had two terrific performances by Ron Silver and Beau Bridges. Kissinger grew up in Washington Heights which is where my Aunt Gretchen lived. When I watched Ron Silver portray him with the little belly and the ferocious temper. He couldn't suffer fools gladly. It was like watching my father.

"When you're telling stories about people, I've realized that the cradle to grave approach doesn't work. When I did Tecumsah, it was cradle to grave. They made a mistake in Ali in trying to cover the whole story. And you wind up with no story. You don't get a sense of the character. Kissinger and Nixon was them negotiating the peace treaty in 1972. And if you do it properly, you will learn everything there is to know about the characters."

Luke: "What did Kissinger deny?"

Daniel: "In the original script, there was a lot of stuff about wiretapping between him and the president. Kissinger said he'd never behave like that. He wanted to be portrayed as a man who only wore white clothes and a white hat."

Luke: "Because of his legal threats, you changed the script?"

Daniel: "We made some changes because of fear of a lawsuit."

Luke: "If Isaacson had documented it, how could you get sued?"

Daniel: "It came down to how far the corporation wanted to go taking a legal risk."

Luke: "How did Kissinger like the final product?"

Daniel: "I don't know. He certainly didn't call me."

Luke: "I thought the movie was sympathetic to Kissinger. He came across far more admirably than did Nixon."

Daniel: "Yeah. Kissinger engineered that great peace treaty. But he was questioning our portrayal of his methods. 'I never told a lie. I never wiretapped. I never misled the president. I never told a lie to the North Vietnamese. I didn't leave the South Vietnamese hanging in the wind. I totally trusted Haig.'"

The New York Times review of Isaacson's biography says: "Mr. Nixon's Presidency was pathological, and Mr. Isaacson's book abundantly shows that Mr. Kissinger was part of that pathology. Their psychological excesses set precedents for some of the country's most ignoble humiliations. As Mr. Isaacson points out, the wiretapping of colleagues and friends that was secretly authorized or abetted by Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kissinger "ultimately led to the plumbers, which led to Watergate.""

Luke: "Was Kissinger a big womanizer or did he just like to be seen with women?"

Daniel: "I didn't follow him to the bedroom. He certainly liked to be seen with women."

Luke: "Who are some of the most difficult actors you've had to work with?"

Daniel: "You'll get me in trouble."

He motions to me to turn off my tape recorder and then gives me a few names. When he's ready to list off which actors were great to work with, I turn my tape recorder back on.

Luke: "Were you disappointed with any of your movies?"

Daniel: "They were all disappointing. Initially I see all the things that could've been better. Then I look at them later and I realize they weren't bad. You get too close to a picture."

Luke: "How do you measure whether a picture was a success? By an internal or external barometer?"

Daniel: "If you consider yourself an artist, you do it for yourself. But in today's world, you have to measure your audience. We don't operate in our own world, we operate in a commercial world."

Luke: "Are there any critics you respect?"

Again I must turn off the tape recorder.

Daniel: "If my family and friends like my movie, they call. If they don't like it, they don't call."

Luke: "What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?"

Daniel: "I like working on scripts and on post-production. Shooting is not my favorite."

Luke: "Working on scripts and post is where you have the most control. Is that why it is your favorite? Because there are fewer variables?"

Daniel: "Yes."

A workman asks Daniel for permission to squueze past to grab a garden hose.

Daniel: "You can do whatever you want. This house is now your house, not mine."

Blatt turns back to me. "When you're shooting, you're dealing with limited time. You've got to be careful. You're limited in how many times you can ask to do it differently. Egos, tension, time and money."

Luke: "Why can you tweak a script and make it better than the professional screenwriter can?"

Daniel: "First, I've made all these pictures. I've got a track record. For a good screenplay you need a good plot, a story that keeps moving. Scenes have to have conflict. And in each scene, you should learn more about your characters. In the end, it's about your characters. When you think about all the great movies, it's about the characters. When you think about all the great movies, you don't think of the plot. You think of the characters. You need characters that are interesting, unpredictable, faulty."

Luke: "What do you think are your strengths as a producer? Finding good material?"

Daniel: "Yes, and that I am a leader. And I'm not afraid to work. And I have a lot of enthusiasm."

Luke: "What makes a good leader in producing a movie?"

Daniel: "It's like playing sports. If you grew up playing sports, you saw what it was like to have a good coach or a bad coach. First thing, you have to be honest and knowledgeable. You have to see the entire picture and be able to get the best out of every person. Every person who works on a picture is an artist in his own way whether it is a costume designer, prop guy, writer, DP... Each person has to be treated to be differently. Some people you have to be tougher on and some people you have to encourage. And if they're not doing a good job, you have to get rid of them."

Luke: "What sports did you play as a teenager?"

Daniel: "Football, basketball and golf. I played quarterback at Andover."

Luke: "Do you think Hollywood is the greatest business in the world?"

Daniel: "It's not boring. I don't know if it is the greatest."

Luke: "What's it like raising kids in Hollywood?"

Daniel: "It's tough on a marriage because you're not around much."

Luke: "Your sister was such a driven woman."

Daniel: "We were all driven. That's what we were taught. 'You've got to work hard.'"

Luke: "You didn't like the sight of blood. That's why you went into law?"

Daniel: "When I was a five year-old kid, I followed my father as he made housecalls. When I was six, I had already seen dead people. The office was in the house. He was a GP (General Practitioner) - he did everything except real surgery. I still remember the sign - $3 for a doctor's visit, $4 for a housecall.

"I grew up in the little town of 2500 people, Halvestol, New York. It's 60 miles outside of New York City. It was a tough blue-collar town."

Luke: "Aren't German Jews regarded as the elite of American Jews?"

Daniel: "They'd like to think that. I grew up thinking that German Jews were the smartest. Then they sent me to Andover. And there I was told we were the cream of the crop."

Luke: "What do you remember about The Stepford Wives?"

Daniel: "It's had an interesting afterlife. It's had a greater afterlife than it had an initial run. It's a famous film now."

Luke: "What did you think of the content of the film. It was an angry feminist film."

Daniel laughs: "Maybe it was in front of its time. I went to visit a friend in Woodland Hills. She says, 'Come up here and visit us. We're in Stepfordville.' I thought it was an interesting concept."

Luke: "Could you make a film you passionately disagreed with?"

Daniel: "I couldn't."

Luke: "So your films are a reflection of your sensibilities?"

Daniel: "Unless you're independently wealthy, you have to make a living. There are some things that you do to get by. But if someone has done more than five films, you can look at the body of work and see the humanity of the person behind it."

Luke: "Some people then really scare me. Like Director Martin Scorsese and his bloody violent vision."

Daniel: "He's got a dark violent view. If a person has had the opportunity to have a say in what he's making, and then you look at the pictures in totality, eventually you will see a common thread. I'd like to think that my pictures reflect my belief that one person can make a difference. If people are passionate about some issue, they can effect change. Tecumseh was about one man who wanted to unite all the Indian tribes and drive the white man out of North America. Tecumseh was a Christ-like figure. He was born under a sign."

A Chat With Daniel H. Blatt About Edgar J. Scherick

I speak by phone with producer Daniel H. Blatt 1/7/03.

Luke: "When did you first meet up with Edgar?"

Dan: "In 1969. I represented ABC in a termination agreement [with producer Edgar Scherick]. His lawyers were Walter Schirer and Mort Weinbach. As part of the termination agreement, Edgar got two pictures, including Jenny. I was assigned by ABC to be the lawyer on that movie and that's where I got to know him, Walter and Mort.

"Palomar Pictures was the name of a division of ABC [that Edgar ran] when he left ABC TV as head of programming. When ABC decided to go into the movie business, they set up a company in the East called Palomar, that Edgar ran, and a company in the West called Selma that Selig Seligman ran. Then ABC decided to merge the companies into one company called ABC Pictures Corp, which was to be run by Marty Baum [out of LA]. I ended up working at ABC Pictures West. ABC and Scherick decided to terminate their arrangement and I was chosen to represent ABC.

"Edgar and I didn't become friendly right away. There was a mutual respect. ABC sent me to California in March of 1970. In July of 1970, Selig Seligman died and everybody from ABC East came to the funeral - Leonard Goldenson (created the ABC network as David Sarnoff created NBC and Bill Paley created CBS), Si Segal (Leonard's number one man). Edgar asked me to pick him up at the plane. We spent the day and that's when it [friendship] started.

"Edgar made a deal with Bristol Myers [to finance his movies]. He called me up and asked me to come work for him. I left ABC and moved back to New York to work for him as head of business and legal affairs. My condition was that I would only report directly to him. We made a whole bunch of junky pictures in the beginning.

"We had a tiny company, with five employees. I was doing many different things. On The Heartbreak Kid, [Director] Elaine May and [writer] Neil Simon had a falling out. And the contract between Simon and Palomar was that we couldn't change a word without his approval. He agreed to write the script under the Dramatists Guild contract [playwrights have far more power than screenwriters, you can't change a word of their plays without their permission]. It's the only script he ever wrote that wasn't based on an original idea of his. It's based on a short story by Bruce Jay Friedman called 'Change of Plan.'

"Elaine wanted to make changes but she and Neil wouldn't talk to each other. So they had to find a conduit to go back and forth and negotiate the changes. I was chosen for the job. I'd sit with Elaine and she'd tell me what the wanted and I'd go to Neil and I had to find a way to effect creative compromise.

"We had some problems on Sleuth. I was chosen to go to London to meet with [Director] Joe Mankiewicz and the art director Ken Adam. I felt the picture was too long. So now I was getting involved with the script. I learned from the seat of my pants [on how to be produce]. Those two pictures got nominated for six Academy awards."

Blatt's first producer credit came in 1977 on Circle of Children, followed by Raid on Entebbe.

"We didn't get renewed at Bristol Meyers. I was the first one to say that we had to move to California. I moved and produced 1977's Circle of Children."

Luke: "Did Edgar scream at you like he did everyone else?"

Dan: "No. In the beginning, a few times. When I decided to leave, it became rupturous."

Luke: "You screamed at him? You don't seem like someone who screams much."

Dan: "I'm not a screamer but it was emotional. We were together a long time. It started out that he was my employer, then he was a partner, then he was the closest of friends, and then there was a break-up, like a marriage. He was clearly older than me. We'd been through a lot of good things and a lot of bad things together."

Luke: "Was he a father figure?"

Dan: "I wouldn't say that. When I first met him, I thought he was fantastic. I still do. But when you're with somebody 16-hours a day for a long time, everybody gets to know everybody's strengths and weaknesses. We were really close. The breakup [in 1979] was an emotional, difficult situation. There was money involved."

Luke: "You wanted to go out to work on your own because?"

Dan: "That's what I wanted to do."

Luke: "He felt like he couldn't continue to be friends if you did that?"

Dan: "It's like when you breakup with your wife or girlfriend, do you stay friends right away? It doesn't work that way. There were a lot of things going on at the same time. His marriage was in trouble. Moving to California."

It took until about 1984 for Dan and Edgar to re-establish their friendship.

Luke: "I've heard Edgar was one of the legendary screamers?"

Dan: "He was volatile. It wasn't one of his strong suits. I didn't think it was appropriate."

Luke: "Was it pleasant working for him?"

Dan: "It wasn't boring. He was smart with great ideas. He had bursts of energy. The guy that you interviewed at that bed, that's the guy. He wasn't the same person any more but you captured who he was. When I read the interview, I said, 'This is vintage Scherick.' When he said, 'If I could pick a gun and shoot Marge [his second ex-wife].' That kind of stuff.

"Like 99% of all people, he didn't fulfill his potential. He did great things but he didn't come close. With a different emotional makeup, he could've been a bigger producer. I don't want to get into it."

Luke: "He didn't seem terribly interested in money."

Dan: "That's not true."

Luke: "He wasn't terribly successful with money then."

Dan: "Right. He wanted money. Everybody wants money. But that wasn't the driving force. He was interested in making good projects and receiving credit for doing wonderful things."

Luke: "He wanted glory."

Dan: "You're putting words in my mouth. Listen, everybody wants to be recognized."

Luke: "I want glory too."

Dan: "Everybody wants to score the winning touchdown. Everybody wants the cameras going off as they go into the endzone. No one wants to miss the four-footer on the last hole.

"It's a generational thing too. Ed was an Eastener. He went to Harvard. He was a product of the Depression. His father lost all his money. Read about Irving Berlin and you'll see a guy who came out of the ghetto. I guarantee you that when Irving Berlin caught a cab and the fare was $1:40, he didn't just flip $2 at that cab driver. He grew up understanding the value of money. You can't escape that. At the same time, Irving Berlin took some of his royalties and sent them to charity. New York and Hollywood are two different towns requiring two different kinds of people. Some guys made the transition easily and other guy haven't.

"Ed was educated. He had an intellect."

Luke: "And he liked to let you know."

Dan: "That was his insecurity. Most people who have done things suffer from a combination of megalomania and insecurity. That's a tough combination to live with - for the person and for those around him. It forces you do things that you hate yourself for doing. Then you're in a business in which no one knows what will really work. There's all that insecurity selling, making and just holding your breath.

"Edgar did quality work, which doesn't necessarily translate into financial reward. The movie he did with [Director] John Frankenheimer, The Path To War, that was an attempt to do a quality piece of work about something. That's not Caddyshack."

Luke: "How well do you think he pulled it off?"

Dan: "By that time, Ed was a sick person. You can't say he made that film. He started that picture. It's a subjective thing. Did you think that guy was Lyndon Johnson who everyone said was so great?"

Luke: "No. The movie didn't work for me."

Dan: "No, he wasn't Lyndon Johnson. When you saw Gathering Storm, was Albert Finney Churchill? It was remarkable. Was Marlon Brando the Godfather? As soon as that picture opened, you said, 'Ohmigod, what is happening here?' Peter Finch was Yitzhak Rabin."

Luke: "Edgar told me he wanted you to speak at his funeral and you did."

Dan: "As I said at the funeral, Edgar had a great eye for talent. He was a charismatic character. He had a command of the room. He was literate. He appreciated good work. Edgar was one of a kind, plus and minus. When they [Brian Grazer, Scott Rudin, Michael Barnathan, et al] worked for him, he was the boss. You may have walked away mumbling but it didn't matter."

Luke: "Was he a happy man?"

Dan: "What do you think?"

Luke: "No. His last years were particularly bitter. The man I met was bitter."

Dan: "The golden years to him weren't golden. This is not a business for older people."

Luke: "When you had dinner with Edgar, what sorts of things came up most often in conversation?"

Dan: "Movies, politics and sports."

Dan is more liberal than Scherick. "I was a legal aid lawyer, a public defender, a civil rights lawyer."

Luke: "Did you ever turn for help to Edgar once you'd gone out on your own?"

Dan: "No."

Luke: "Did he ever turn to you?"

Dan: "Yes, periodically, he'd call me and ask what I thought. That's more to his credit than mine."

Luke: "Could you give me an anecdote about Edgar?"

Dan: "I was working with a director [Alan Parker?] who was brilliant but not interested in the project. Ed was frustrated with the guy and said, 'You're so arrogant, you don't even know you're arrogant.' I think that's the best line I ever heard."

Luke: "Edgar was an eager mentor?"

Dan: "No. He always wanted good people to work for him. He had the ability to spot them. The truth of the matter is, [Edgar] f---ing hired Roone Arledge. Anybody who tells you differently is a liar."

Luke: "It seemed to really gnaw at Edgar"

Dan: "Yes it did."

Luke: "The amount of success Roone had and didn't acknowledge Edgar and others."

Dan: "Roone took credit for something he didn't create."

Luke: "Wide World of Sports."

Dan: "A lot of great people have the ability to take credit for things they didn't create."

Luke: "Did Edgar falsely grab credit?"

Dan: "Absolutely not."

Luke: "I never got the sense he was intentionally lying to me."

Dan: "No he was not. What I read was pretty truthful."

Luke: "It seemed like he'd been a straight-shooter his whole life."

Dan: "Yes."

Luke: "What were his relationships like with guys like Michael Eisner and other studio chiefs?"

Dan: "A lot of these guys worked for Edgar. Leonard Goldberg. Scott Rudin. Brian Grazer. Larry Gordon. Robert Lawrence. Michael Barnathan. Chris Schenkel. Frank Barton. Edgar was there before they were. Eisner respected him. ABC was a distant third when he took over and the shows he put on the air, like Batman, Batgirl, helped propel ABC into competition with NBC."

Luke: "Edgar championed women."

Dan: "When he started out, there weren't many women in the business. Joan Scott was one of the first. Edgar had nothing to do with her but if you want to do a good story about someone in the business, Joan Scott. Do you know who she is? She created Writers and Artists Agency. She saw that there was no way that a woman could become a partner in an agency and she said, 'I will create my own agency.' Harrison Ford, Armand Assante, Jimmy Woods, she found all of them. She's a manager now in New York. She's in her seventies. She's vibrant and beautiful and smart and funny. Joan Scott will demonstrate what a woman could do and couldn't do."

Luke: "Did Edgar's friends stick by him in the last seven years?"

Dan: "Some did and some didn't."

Luke: "Did he have a lot of friends?"

Dan: "What's your definition of friends? He had a lot of people who liked him. They had a nice turnout at the funeral. Bob Daly [former co-head of Warner Brothers]. Barry Myer. Edgar was the last of an era. An era when a person could walk into a room and with the sheer enthusiasm of their passion for a project and sell it. It doesn't work like that any more because everything is so layered and corporate."

Luke: "I'd see people in my research for my book on producers and they'd mention they knew Edgar. I'd mention that I saw him regularly and they'd say, 'Give him my best.' And I thought, 'Why don't you call him and give him your best?' Part of the reason I went to see him so many times was that I thought he wanted the company. And then you'd get there and he'd throw you out after 20-minutes."

Dan: "He was tough on visitors. 'You can leave now.' F--- you, Ed, I don't want to be told I can leave now. I didn't drive over here to be told I can leave now. Right?"

Luke: "Yes."

Dan: "Did you feel that way?"

Luke: "Yes."

Dan: "Don't tell me to leave. I'm not rude to you. He was in bad shape. He was heavy. He was lying flat on his bed. He had leukemia. It was sad for me to see him like this.

"He liked baseball, fishing, literature. He appreciated a good sentence. He liked a good meal. He loved the business. He was a great salesman."