I am shocked to the core, however, to be informed, and in such massive detail, that Brooks in person is not warm and fuzzy but a very nasty piece of work indeed.
The cocky swagger is barely disguised arrogance, apparently. ‘His negativity,’ assures McGilligan, ‘often got in the way of his positivity, his obnoxiousness in the way of his likeability.’... If this biography is marred, it is by the fact that Brooks has evidently had nothing to do with it — and we do rather need to hear his side of the story to balance it out.
If Brooks’s reputation as a nice person is dented, the lunacy and vulgarity of the films remain. I’ll never stop watching them.
You might wonder how easy it was for the 1946 audience to love the hyperactive, 20-year-old Brooklynite begging for their adoration; readers of this biography might find it almost impossible. It is a damning chronicle of narcissism, mental cruelty, prejudice, treachery, moral bankruptcy, financial impropriety and chronic shouting.... McGilligan, whose previous subjects include Clint Eastwood, Robert Altman and Jack Nicholson, had trouble researching this book: many people didn’t reply to his inquiries, declined to co-operate, or spoke in strict anonymity, such was their fear of Brooks’s temper and litigiousness. In the circumstances, he’s brought to yelping (and shouting) life an impossible man, who somehow managed to fight his way to an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy.