Born in Chicago, IL, Joan Kramer was a ballet dancer and assistant choreographer before starting her career in film and television production. She was an assistant talent co-ordinator for The Dick Cavett Show, associate producer for a Candid Camera Special, and writer for Live From Lincoln Center. She then joined the staff of WNET where she began her long producing partnership with David Heeley. For public television and later for their own company, Top Hat Productions, they created profiles of some of the most famous and well-respected personalities in the entertainment industry, and maintained personal relationships with many of them, their families and friends. Their programs have received five Emmy awards, twenty Emmy nominations, and many other national and international honors. Joan Kramer lives in New York. David Heeley was born in the north of England. After graduating from Oxford University in 1961, he joined the BBC in London, initially as an engineer, eventually becoming a staff director. In 1969 he moved to New York, where he worked first for public televisions WNET, and later Top Hat Productions, which he owned with Joan Kramer. He has received many awards, including six Emmys, has been nominated for three Directors Guild of America awards, and has taught a course on directing at New York Universitys School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He was executive producer of the WNET/PBS series Nature from its premiere in 1982 until 1991, and has produced a number of acclaimed documentary profiles together with Joan Kramer. With an entertainment career spanning more than four decades, Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss has been one of Americas most versatile and individualistic actors. He is also Founder and President of The Dreyfuss Initiative, a nonprofit organization committed to revitalizing Americas civic culture. He serves on the American Bar Associations Education Committee, the Board of the National Constitution Center, and was Senior Research Advisory Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford University.
This delicious account of the greatly talented and productive Kramer and Heeley's adventures, misadventures, headaches, and thrills among their illustriously famous subjects is a joy to read. The quirks and maddening eccentricities of such greatly gifted giants as Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, et al., are all here on delightfully entertaining 'and often startling' display. In the Company of Legends is so hard to put down I ate with one hand while reading it. -- Dick Cavett I've been involved in many of Joan's and David's projects over the years and they've told me fascinating stories about the many celebrities they've worked with, shedding new light on people I thought I knew. Now they are sharing these stories publicly for the first time. Anyone who goes to the movies, the theater, and watches television will treasure this book as much as I do. -- Joanne Woodward A treasure trove of untold stories, culled from more than thirty years of candid conversations and unguarded moments with America's brightest stars and most powerful politicians.In the Company of Legends serves up one startling revelation after another. -- John Berendt, author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, and former MCA/Universal Studios Chairman, Lew Wasserman, to name just a few, were known for fiercely protecting their privacy, trusting very few, especially those in media. Joan Kramer and David Heeley not only succeeded in working with them, but also developed long-term personal relationships with these - and many other - Hollywood legends, which is rare, almost unheard of. Over the years, they've shared fascinating and behind-the-scenes stories about so many icons they were lucky enough to know. I'm certain that the readers of this book will enjoy the many 'peeks behind the curtain' their book reveals. -- Blair Westlake, Former Chairman of Universal Studios Television and Corporate Vice President, Media & Entertainment for Microsoft Corporation Joan Kramer and David Heeley have produced definitive documentary portraits of many of Hollywood's biggest stars. Although I have been involved in the movie business for many decades, I found these behind-the-scenes stories of movie legends enthralling and revelatory. In the Company of Legends is a must-read for those who thought there was nothing new to discover about Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Jane Fonda, and the many other well-known personalities who fill the pages of this book. -- Roger L. Mayer, Former President Turner Entertainment Co., Recipient of Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Academy Award, and long-time Executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Thank you, David Heeley and Joan Kramer for giving us one of the best reasons ever for curling up with a book. After their treating us to some of the best, most literate and entertaining hours of television (includingKatharine Hepburn: All About Me, Bacall onBogart, The John Garfield Story, The Adventures of Errol Flynn and numerous other TV specials) they now offer us a book I never wanted to end, chock-full of constant surprises. In the Company of Legends is a king's ransom of fascinating stories about colorful, bigger than life people we know but don't know. The big bonus is that it's a book about dazzling personalities told by people who actually knew the celebrities they write about, worked with them and, further, socialized with them, aware of the their foibles and strengths from first-hand knowledge, not heresay. That's something both rare and refreshing in books today. This one deserves a high spot on your 'must read' booklist for the year. -- Robert Osborne, host of "Turner Classic Movies"