Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
David Susskind

David Susskind

A Televised Life

Stephen Battaglio

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

David Susskind was the first TV producer to become a TV star. His freewheeling discussion program Open End, later known as The David Susskind Show, brought the turbulent issues of the 1960s and provocative social trends of the 1970s into the nation's living rooms at a time when television was tame. Susskind grilled everyone from a Mafia hit man to transsexuals to a famously hilarious Mel Brooks. Behind the camera, he was a high-minded, flamboyant New York impresario who took risks and railed against the Hollywood establishment. He battled the TV network practice of blacklisting, brought great actors such as Sir Laurence Olivier to prime time and fought to make gritty shows (East Side/West Side, N.Y.P.D., Death of a Salesman) that accurately reflected the human condition. His feature film output included such groundbreaking works as A Raisin In the Sun and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Through it all, Susskind was an enfant terrible with an insatiable appetite for women and a scorn for the business side of his profession that left his career hanging by a thread more than once. David Susskind: A Televised Life is a wild ride through an expansive and glamorous time in the entertainment industry and an incisive look at one of its most colorful and influential 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

“A detailed, authoritative biography, written with an emotional edge” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A great book!” —Chris Matthews, MSNBC

“Stephen Battaglio gives flesh and blood to one of early television's feistiest champions.” —Kathy Newman, American Quarterly (The Journal of the American Studies Association)

“A fascinating biography that covers both Mr. Susskind's life and the history of early television.” —King Features Syndicate

“The media impresario Battaglio depicts in David Susskind: A Televised Life goes far beyond anything a scriptwriter might imagine...a well-researched and highly readable biography.” —Robert Fulford, The National Post

“The strength of David Susskind: A Televised Life, Stephen Battaglio's thoroughly researched book, is its sense of history… Susskind comes through, one of television's loudest, most provocative lions.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A wonderful new book which, frankly, should be required reading in any college media curriculum. It details not just the high points of producing but the frustrations and heartbreak that go, as they say, with the territory even with someone as famous and successful as David Susskind.” —Dan O'Brien,

“This enjoyable biography of the media swashbuckler of the 50s through the 70s kind of reads like a thriller too, the high velocity business kind.” —Sullivan County Democrat

David Susskind: A Televised Life makes the case for remembering an impresario who brought a brash exuberance to the rough-and-tumble of ideas and social issues.” —The Jewish Daily Forward

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Stephen Battaglio

STEPHEN BATTAGLIO is the business editor for TV Guide Magazine. He has written about the television industry for The New York Times, Fortune, the New York Daily News and The Hollywood Reporter. He is the author of From Yesterday to Today (Running Press), a history of the first 60 years of NBC's Today. He has appeared as a media commentator on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News, Entertainment Tonight and numerous other programs. He lives in New York City.

Stephen Battaglio

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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