Journalist Dennis McDougal (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, TV Guide, etc.) is the bestselling author of twelve books, including most recently DYLAN: The Biography released by Turner Publishing in May of 2014. In a career dating to the 1970s, he has also authored hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and produced award-winning TV documentaries.
Before he began covering movies and media as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s, McDougal reported for dailies in Riverside and Long Beach, California. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in journalism at UCLA and won a John S. Knight Fellowship in 1981, spending a year teaching and studying psychology and law at Stanford University. A producer for CNN during the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, McDougal has won more than fifty honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award. He is the award-winning biographer of Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Universal Studios chieftain Lew Wasserman and the Los Angeles Times’ Otis Chandler. McDougal was featured in the 2009 PBS documentary that he co-produced about the late Los Angeles Times publisher, “Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times.” He has lectured in journalism and creative writing at UCLA, Stanford, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach. He and his wife Sharon live near Memphis, Tennessee.
William Knoedelseder is a veteran journalist, best-selling author and television news executive who honed his investigative and narrative skills during 12 years as a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, where his ground breaking coverage of the entertainment industry produced a long string of exposes. His two-year investigation of payola and other corrupt practices in the record business sparked five federal grand jury investigations across the country, led to the arrest and conviction of a score of organized figures, and formed the basis of his first best-selling book, Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the Mafia (Harper Collins). Stiffed was named Best Non-Fiction work of 1993 by Entertainment Weekly, which called it “the scariest book of the year…and the funniest.” Two of the book’s main characters—New Jersey crime boss Gaetano “Corky” Vastola and Roulette Records founder Morris Levy–later served as the models for HBO’s Tony Soprano and his music mogul advisor, Herman “Hesh” Rabkin.
In a subsequent 13-year television career, Knoedelseder served as the executive producer and creator of news programs and documentaries for Fox Television, Disney, Knight Ridder and USA Broadcasting. For six of those years, he worked closely with Barry Diller, first at Fox and then at USA, where, as Vice President of News, he created an innovative nightly news program in Miami called The Times, which The Miami Herald praised as “a daring blend of newsmagazine-style exploratory journalism with irreverence, humor, dollops of opinion and a wink-of-the-eye attitude.” Miami’s New Times named it “Best Newscast in South Florida.”
Knoedelseder also produced two nationally televised documentaries. Marilyn: Something’s Got to Give, a critically acclaimed two-hour special about the making Marilyn Monroe’s last unfinished film during the final few months of her life, set a primetime ratings record for Fox. All the Presidents’ Movies, a three-hour special for Bravo, examined the movie viewing habits of the modern U.S. Presidents—what they watched, when, with whom, and how it connected to world events—based on the never-before-seen private logs of the official White House movie projectionist from 1953 to 1986. Aired over three nights, the special was narrated by Martin Sheen.
Since 2000, Knoedelseder has written three more books. In Eddie’s Name (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) chronicles the brutal murder of a Philadelphia teenager that made national headlines when Knoedelseder, as executive producer of the Knight Ridder news program Inquirer News Tonight,pressured the city to make public the content of 911 tapes recorded the night of the killing, which ultimately revealed a complete breakdown of Philadelphia’s emergency response system. I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy’s Golden Era (Public Affairs/Perseus) recounts Knoedelseder’s time as cub reporter covering the L.A. comedy club scene when David Letterman, Jay Leno, Robin Williams and Andy Kaufman were young and undiscovered. Film/TV rights have been acquired by actor Jim Carrey and the project is in development as a TV series. Knoedelseder’s latest, Bitter Brew: the Rise and Fall of Anhueser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, tells the riveting story of one of our nation’s most colorful and longest lasting business dynasties. Called “intoxicating reading,” by The Wall Street Journal, the book became a New York Times best seller and film rights were optioned by Lionsgate Television in association with Michael London, the Oscar-nominated producer of Sideways.
Knoedelseder is currently at work on his third book for Harper Collins, Fins, about the visionary car designer Harley Earl and his role in the phenomenal rise of General Motors.
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