From the Introduction
Bruce Lee, Woodstock and Me
In the early nineties when they made the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Tom Pollock, head of MCA/Universal Studios, asked me to appear as myself. When I arrived at the Hollywood premiere, the director, Rob Cohen, pulled me aside to tell me they had to cut me out of the picture and had given all my lines to Robert Wagner.
“Okay,” I said. “Why?”
“Because,” Rob replied, “you weren’t believable as Fred Weintraub.” In my defense, I’ve never pretended to be an actor, and “Fred Weintraub” is a mighty difficult role. He’s passionate, unpredictable, lusty, mischievous, impatient, and larger than life. And his back story places him at the heart of more pop culture milestones than seems possible for any one man. He’s like Forrest Gump as played by Al Pacino. I’ve acted the part my entire life, and I’m still amazed that a child born with incurable shpilkes (the clinical term for “ants in my pants”) could accomplish so much.
I’ve been a salesman, ad man, talent manager, whorehouse piano player, club owner, entrepreneur, and horse breeder, and have been called a laid-back impresario, a legend, the most honest guy in the business, and a number of things I’d rather not repeat. At least, not yet.
Mostly, I think of myself as a showman—in the truest sense of the word. I don’t crave the limelight, but love to put on shows with those that do. In the course of my many careers, I’ve worked with hundreds of major film actors including Bruce Lee, George C. Scott, Tom Selleck, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Irving, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Yul Brynner, and Steve McQueen, and also introduced the world to some of the greatest musicians and comics of their generation: people like Neil Diamond, Woody Allen, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Joan Rivers.
“After devouring his witty, provocative, fast-reading memoir, the only mystery to me is why Fred Weintraub isn't already a household name.”
—Nevada Barr, Award winning author of the
Anna Pigeon Mystery series