“Hemingway was a jerk.”

The French Riviera was Harold Robbins’ playground, especially the Cannes Film Festival. It was a great time for promoting his books, movies or image. The paparazzi would follow him and capture who he was seen with and where he was going. He was one of the first authors to find himself in the gossip columns. Twitter and Facebook in the digital age would be filled with Harold Robbins’ism’s. He loved to be provocative with the press and that’s why they loved to interview him. He would make outrageous statements to provoke a new way of thinking and perhaps create a new character for his next book.

Harold was always writing the next story in his head or in his typewriter. It was “the story” that made things fun. He hosted wild and extravagant parties on his yacht during the film festival with such guests as Alain Delon, Sinatra, Sammy, Joey Bishop, Burt Reynolds, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Anouk Aimee, Charles Aznavour, producer’s director’s anyone who was anyone wanted on the Robbins yacht. Harold usually didn’t stick around for the party. He observed. He watched the cocktail conversation, dropped in on the different gatherings of guests, and disappeared.


Harold and Mario Puzo


This great photo of Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather, and Harold Robbins at the Film Festival was probably taken after the two men escaped the parties…a wonderful shot taken by European photographer, and close friend Ini Asman. During the 70s she took all of Harold’s European publicity photos. In this particular image doesn’t it look as if Mario and Harold are secretly discussing their next moves! We just don’t know if it is for their great novels or the next girl they’d like to meet.

Mario was a friend of Harold’s and Harold admired Mario’s work. They often had discussions about “selling out” for commercialism. Harold’s answer was always provocative. “If literature gives people pleasure and entertainment why should it be called “selling out.” Anyone can write a boring book! I’m the world’s best writer in plain English. I make no apologies!”

Mario would usually remind Harold of the question asked him by Hemingway about what he expected from his writing career…Harold answered Hemingway flippantly, “Wealth.”  Mario would then look at Harold expectantly…for his ritual replay… “Hemingway was a jerk…” laughing and going on to the next subject!  Do you think that writing for the pleasure of millions is “selling out”? I’d like to hear your comments.


~ by haroldrobbinsnovels on September 22, 2010.

One Response to ““Hemingway was a jerk.””

  1. “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticize.” One might just as well say that anyone who gives the public what they want is selling out. Writing is a job, and jobs pay the bills. Harold knew this, he was a realist, his work reflects that. He just happened to be blessed with an enormous talent for making complex ideas accessible through straightforward communication. That, Mr. Hemingway, is not “selling out”, that’s what’s called “not condescending to your readers”.

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