A Fate Worse than Hollywood [Hardcover]David Ambrose has recently written a book that chronicles his journey from the rustic underbelly of rural Lancaster, all the way to the bright lights of Hollywood. Entitled, ‘A Fate Worse than Hollywood’, his 336-page account is both reflective and witty in tone; and full of acerbic anecdotes, poignant prose, and fascinating facts focused on a number of very famous individuals, such as Orson Welles, Dirk Bogarde, and Kirk Douglas, to name but a few. Want to know more? Then please check out the following interview I did with the main man himself.

A Fate Worse than Hollywood [Hardcover]

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself, David.   Well, what can I say that isn’t already on Wikipedia, imdb.com, or Google? Credits, date of birth, and pictures are already out there. So I suppose I could add that I’m five feet eight and weigh a bit over eleven stone. I enjoy physical activity – swimming, cycling, workouts – but don’t like sport. I’m a fan of piano jazz and once said that I’d give my right arm to play like Art Tatum. My favorite classical composer is J S Bach. My favorite playwrights are Chekhov, Samuel Beckett, and Noel Coward. Favorite filmmakers? Take your pick out of all of the greats, from D W Griffith through to Chaplin, Keaton, and Kurosawa, then add Welles, Hitchcock, and Scorsese. Favorite novelists? Hard to say, but certainly, no one who’s ever won the Booker or Nobel Prize for literature.

Since my wife died earlier this year, I’ve lived alone with a King Charles spaniel in a too-large house with a sprawling garden in Provence, but I shall be coming back to London soon. Currently, four of my novels are in various stages of development for film or television, one of which I’m scripting myself for a Hollywood producer.

Dirk Bogarde
2) Can you briefly sum up your book, ‘A Fate Worse than Hollywood’, and tell us what inspired you to write it?   There are two answers to this question because there are two parts to my book. One part describes my encounters with many famous people – Orson Welles, Dirk Bogarde, Kirk Douglas, just for starters – and the other part tells the story of how I came to find myself amongst them. This entails explaining (as entertainingly as possible) where I come from and how I became a writer. It was an unlikely starting point, but looking back, a kind of inevitable pattern becomes evident. I also describe what I’ve learned about writing over the years, both in terms of technical skill and as an insider’s guide to the workings of the Hollywood machine and the politics of show business in general.

3) What would you say is the most surprising fact featured in your memoir?   This is a difficult question to answer because a fact can take various forms. If I were to be serious for a moment, I might try to explain how a passionate interest in theoretical physics can translate into stories about purely human relationships. If I were to be trivial, though, I might say that many movie stars are surprisingly short, and lie about their height.

4) What piece of music would compliment your book and why?   Undoubtedly the Broadway overture to the musical “Gypsy”, as it’s a brassy, bold, cartwheeling and tap-dancing mix of pure showbiz razzmatazz. A glimpse into my deepest soul, I suspect. Or perhaps the soul I’d like to have.

Orson Welles, James Stewart, and James Cagney
5) If you could choose a celebrity, either living or dead, to promote your wares, who would you choose and why?   This would have to be Orson Welles. Towards the end of his life, he topped up his income by using that amazing voice and presence to sell anything from indifferent wines to video games and frozen peas, but without ever losing his credibility as a genius. Besides, it would be great to spend some time with him again.

And on that note, I’d like to thank David for telling us about his fascinating book, ‘A Fate Worse than Hollywood’, before encouraging you to pick up a copy via Amazon or the official Zuleika website. So go on, scram, as I guarantee you’d love it as much as it loves you.

A FATE WORSE THAN HOLLYWOOD A FATE WORSE THAN HOLLYWOOD Reviewed by David Andrews on November 12, 2019 Rating: 5

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