NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s choice of reading material for his surrender to New York authorities on Friday drew attention to a pair of entertainment biographies.
Weinstein arrived at a New York police precinct holding Richard Schickel’s biography of the late stage and film director Elia Kazan and Todd Purdum’s “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution.” The Kazan book came out in 2005, the Rodgers and Hammerstein book this spring.
It was not immediately clear why he had those books, but public speculation focused on Kazan, who died in 2003. It’s not hard to imagine that Weinstein, a self-described Hollywood outsider, relates to one of the entertainment industry’s one most accomplished and notorious figures. Kazan was revered for directing the first Broadway productions of two of the country’s greatest plays, Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” and Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” He also directed the film adaptation of “Streetcar” and the Oscar-winning classic “On the Waterfront.” He was widely praised for bringing Marlon Brando’s Method style of acting to the screen.
But many remember him for his 1952 testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, when he named names of suspected Hollywood communists at a time many were losing work because of an industry blacklist. The anger had not subsided when Kazan was given an honorary Oscar in 1999. Some boycotted the ceremony and when Kazan approached the podium, after being introduced by Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, such performers as Ed Harris and Nick Nolte sat grimly and didn’t applaud. In his brief speech, Kazan offered no apologies.
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The 1999 Oscars were notable for Weinstein, too: It was the night he won his only personal Academy Award, as producer of “Shakespeare In Love.”
On Friday, Weinstein handed off the books at the police station, where he was booked quickly. An associate was carrying them when he left court a few hours later.
In an earlier time, both biographies would have been likely film projects for the disgraced movie mogul, who pleaded not guilty to charges he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex.
Weinstein was fired from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Producers Guild of America following detailed allegations of harassment and abuse published by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October. Both outlets won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting.