Praise for my Place in the Sun
From the Kennedy Center Honors to working alongside his celebrated director father on cinema classics to his own signature films George Stevens, Jr’s life as a creator and guardian of American cinema has been a remarkable celebration of the arts. In this riveting memoir he takes us on a glorious ride through so many of America’s most important and enduring moments both on-screen and off.
George Stevens’ new book is a fascinating journey through his amazing life. He has been at the center of Hollywood for longer than he cares to admit and has the stories to prove it. You will even find out why I’ve always called him “Kingfish.” Movies, family, the arts and politics — My Place in the Sun
is quite a ride.
My Place in the Sun offers the reader a front-row seat to the birth of the American Century through the lens of a model cultural citizen. In both wartime and peacetime, through national celebrations and tragedies, George Stevens Jr.’s meticulously documented, even-handed portraits of a century’s worth of filmic and political historymakers is a must-read for anyone interested in human affairs. I couldn’t put it down.
Long before Ronald Reagan came to Washington, George Stevens Jr. brought Hollywood glamour, and serious film, to the backwater 1960s capital of the United States. The son of a legendary director, George Stevens Jr.’s role as an important player in the cultural and political life of the nation, on both coasts, is unique. Through half a century, he established the American Film Institute, the Kennedy Center Honors, and was a friend and confidant to presidents from Jack Kennedy to Barack Obama. His is a tale like no other and spun out here with grace and historical sweep.”
For anyone interested in Hollywood and the inner workings of Washington, DC, My Place in the Sun is a treasure. It is also the captivating story of a loving father and son.”
The son and namesake of one of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, George Stevens Jr.'s life became a search for his own identity and purpose. He found both some 3,000 miles away in Washington DC, where he helped forge the myth of the dynamic, liberal America of the New Frontier and Great Society eras, first as a creator of U.S.-sponsored short films and documentaries and later as founder of the American Film Institute and impresario of the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. A gifted filmmaker himself, Stevens also became an advisor to presidents, power brokers and movie moguls, and an ambassador at large between DC and Hollywood, America's political capital and its cultural counterpart. His book is an intimate portrait of a bygone age of American ascendancy and the men and women who presided over it, produced by a true believer in our nation's greatness.
George Stevens Jr. has written a book that is a compelling, loving tribute to his father, a cinematic giant, and to his family. But it is much more: Stevens has had a unique opportunity to stand at the crossroads of Hollywood and Washington, of America's most important cultural, political, and governing institutions and to help shape them. His finely etched portraits of the greats of the entertainment world---Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and so many others---join with Stevens' understanding of and collaboration with Barack Obama, the Kennedy brothers, Edward R. Murrow, and myriad others to give us an account of the political and cultural changes that have swept America in recent decades. It is an insightful portrait of the nature and importance of celebrity in our national life, and a pleasure to read.
If George Stevens Sr. were half as impressive as George Jr. writes in this compelling book, he would still be a Hollywood Lion, director of some of our most memorable movies. The son, like his dad, has also lived a memorable life, recounted in vivid anecdotes of friendships with Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Edward R. Murrow, and the Kennedys, the movies and documentaries he birthed, the arts he championed, the Kennedy Center he pioneered, the noble life he has lived. My Place in the Sun is a book I avidly consumed in one gulp.
The son of a great filmmaker emerges from his father’s shadow to create his own place as a major force in American culture. George Stevens Jr. engrosses us in his moving saga of a pioneering American family and his own self-invention as a visionary, influential figure who has worked with everybody in Hollywood and Washington. I devoured this inside look at how Stevens brought those two worlds together with his rare good taste, diplomacy, and sense of history.
Beautifully written, historically meticulous, and powerfully moving, George Stevens, Jr.'s story shines a bright light on the two extraordinary lives, in Hollywood and Washington, he has lived for decades.
Writing a memoir is a sacred task, and perhaps all the more difficult for the son of a legendary film director whose name will always have the "Jr." attached. But George Stevens Jr. tells his own story in My Place in the Sun, and what a moving and thoughtful - often surprising and eye-opening - saga it is, encompassing the American Dream. It's an E-ticket to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the long-lost era of civility in Washington, D.C. His book has dates with movie stars, brushes with presidents, hopes and achievements and hard truths and - more than anything else - the author's clarion voice leading readers through the busy years of an enviable and admirable life.”