On August 5, 1958, Jack Warner spent six hours playing baccarat, taking $4,000 from the tables at Cannes before stepping out into the night. He drove home along a winding road in a sporty little Alfa-Romeo, and was negotiating a tricky turn when a truck leapt in front of him. The Alfa was destroyed, but Warner was saved—thrown out the door to land forty feet from the burning car. Around the world, the newspapers told of the death of the king of Hollywood. But Warner wasn’t finished yet.
One of the true legends of the movie business, Warner had wielded absolute power over his studio since the silent era. He produced Casablanca and The Jazz Singer; he feuded with Errol Flynn, and gave the green light to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. As the studio system crumbled, Warner’s control remained unquestioned, and in this engaging autobiography, he shows the man behind the crown.
Jack L. Warner is portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the Ryan Murphy TV series Feud.