Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
David Susskind

David Susskind

A Televised Life

Stephen Battaglio

St. Martin's Press




A rich biography of one of the most important cultural figures of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s—maverick television producer and talk show host David Susskind

A flamboyant impresario who began his career as an agent, David Susskind helped define a fledgling television industry. He was a provocateur who fought to bring high-toned literary works to TV. His series East Side/West Side and N.Y.P.D. broke the color barrier in casting and brought gritty, urban realism to prime time. He indulged his passion for issues and ideas with his long running discussion program, first called Open End and then The David Susskind Show, where guests could come from The White House one week and a whore house the next. The groundbreaking program made news year in and year out. His legendary live interview with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War inflamed both the political and media establishments.

Susskind was an enfant terrible whose life—both on and off the screen—makes fascinating reading. His rough edges, appetite for women, and scorn for the business side of his profession often left his own career hanging by a thread.

Through extensive original reporting and deep access to David Susskind's personal papers, family members and former associates, Stephen Battaglio creates a vivid portrait of a go-go era in American media. David Susskind is as much a biography of an expansive and glamorous time in the television business as it is the life of one of its most colorful and important players.


David Susskind was dressed in his navy lieutenant's uniform when, in the winter of 1947, he showed up at the Manhattan headquarters of the talent agency Century Artists. He stood at a compact five feet seven inches tall. He once described his...


Praise for David Susskind

“As a kid growing up in Nebraska in the sixties, it was David Susskind's talk show--Mailer! Vidal! Steinem! Capote! Malcolm X!--that made me start mentally packing my bags for New York and a writer's life. But who knew he was also producing the TV series (East Side/West Side, Get Smart!) and movies (by Scorsese, Altman, Peckinpah) that I loved? Stephen Battaglio has produced a fascinating, definitive portrait of one of the kings of the Mad Men era.” —Kurt Andersen, author of Heyday

“David Susskind's remarkable career perfectly parallels the evolution of American television in the twentieth Century. Stephen Battaglio skillfully intertwines the history of the man and the history of the medium into an engrossing biography.” —Mary Ann Watson, professor of Electronic Media and Film Studies, Eastern Michigan University, and author of The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy Years

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Stephen Battaglio

STEPHEN BATTAGLIO is the business editor for TV Guide Magazine. He has covered the television industry since 1989, for New York Daily News and The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

Stephen Battaglio

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

Latest on Facebook