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Peter, Blake, and Marty - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today... — LiveJournal
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Peter, Blake, and Marty
I’ve mentioned my former boss and industry legend, Marty Baum, in passing here a few times. He’s a cranky old goat but I learned more from Marty when I was a young drug-addled agent-on-the-rise than I’ve learned from anyone else in my career. I grew to love Marty in spite of his daily volcanic abuse.

While working for him, I nurtured a relationship with Blake Edwards during the second wind of his career, in the Victor/Victoria days, and eventually Blake hired me to start the management division of his company. Those were hazy days of too much money, too much cocaine, too much power, too much of everything.

I was excited to see HBO’s The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers because I knew both men played key roles in Peter’s life. When I began working with Marty, Peter had already passed away, a tortured man whose young bride fucked his attorney in the limo on the day of his funeral, or so Marty told me.

Marty nurtured Being There for Peter though he wasn’t Hal Ashby’s first choice. He also brokered the deal between Blake and Peter to do The Revenge Of The Pink Panther, each man trying to revive their former glory through a tired franchise. Marty had a well-earned reputation for taste in talent, and as one of the toughest dealmakers in town. He discovered Sidney Poitier and represented him throughout his entire career. He was also responsible for Carroll O’Connor, Richard Attenborough, Dustin Hoffman, Sam Peckinpah, as well as many other difficult, unstable personalities.

After all those years, however, Marty never lost the fire in his belly. He may have been liver-spotted but he was a young street tough when it came to being an agent.

Peter was a master of manipulation. He’d sit up all night long, writing pages and pages of telexes, the predecessor to faxes, words of a madman beautifully constructed in messages only Peter could possibly understand. He would denounce Blake or other targets in conspiracies so elaborate to defy any logic.

One day while going through Marty’s files, I lifted some of those late-night treatises. I believe I lost them with many other early industry mementos I gathered. Along with them, I also lost a drawing of a rabbit that Jimmy Stewart, who shared an office suite with Blake, had drawn for me.

I watched the film, eager to get to Blake’s role, and finally Marty’s, but when a pivotal scene happened in Marty’s office, an inaccurate reproduction, I was very disappointed they gave Marty no lines whatsoever. He was just a guy with over-sized glasses sitting at his desk wearing a bemused smile while Blake and Peter duked it out in front of him. Later, when Peter lambastes Blake at the premiere of The Revenge, there’s one cutaway of Marty looking concerned.

I’m certain Marty couldn’t have cared less, though, that he wasn’t prominent in the film. He was from an era when agents were in the shadows, before agents like Sue Mengers and Michael Ovitz eclipsed their clients’ spotlights. Marty, now in his eighties yet shows up to his office at CAA every single day, probably watched the movie, adjusting his over-sized tinted glasses, and just shook his head at the amazing memories of it all.
12 comments or Leave a comment
ladycakes From: ladycakes Date: December 18th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
aaaah...Hollywoodland...it's both fascinating and repulsive. I'm glad I never made it all the way through film school. I wasn't cut out for the meanness of it all.

I'm curious about the Peter Sellers movie and wish I had HBO. I'm a huge fan.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: December 18th, 2004 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll tape it for you and put it on the pony express! I really liked it. You might, too.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: December 18th, 2004 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I love these kind of stories--I always find them fascinating. Thank you for adding me to your friends list!
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: December 18th, 2004 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're mighty welcome. I've really enjoyed reading your journal, as well.
grrtigger From: grrtigger Date: December 18th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I too am always interested to read these little insights from inside. I hear that Geoffrey Rush does an awesome job playing Sellers, but then that isn't really surprising, is it?

Thanks for sharing ;)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: December 18th, 2004 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rush is totally Sellers. Check it out.
mondragon From: mondragon Date: December 18th, 2004 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that you know all this stuff.

I thought the film sucked. Whatever it might have looked like on paper didn't translate to me onscreen. All the actors were good, some very good, but I didn't care about any of them. It felt like the equivalent of Mommy Dearest for Peter Sellers.
brianrdu From: brianrdu Date: December 18th, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like reading these recollections of yours...I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's just plain weird that publicists are famous. I mean...how is it that I know who Pat Kingsley is, and that I enjoy reading about Leslee Dart's dismissal and all the big clients leaving PMK to stay with her? I'm just a regular schmo, you know?
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: December 18th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Publicists are the bottom feeders of the business, especially Kingsley, the great Scientology enabler.

At least agents earn their ten percent.
quuf From: quuf Date: December 18th, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love to think that when I was mopping floors and polishing silver at the synagogue, you were just blocks (and a galaxy) away, honing your chops in the rarefied atmosphere of CAA. I hope you write more about it.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: December 18th, 2004 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
At least you were doing noble work. I was mopping and polishing of a different sort.
quuf From: quuf Date: December 18th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Enough of that, young man.
12 comments or Leave a comment