“The most interesting question about Fox is, ‘What do you do when you realize you’re not going to be the person that you want to be?'”
Quick: Who is the “Fox” in 20th Century Fox? You’d know if you read Vanda Krefft‘s fantastic new book, The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox (Harper)! Vanda joins the show to talk about William Fox’s contributions to the movies (including the discovery of Theda Bara), why he’s virtually unknown today, and how she discovered his story. We also get into her decade-plus experience of researching and writing the book, Vanda’s transition from journalist to biographer, the limits of historical records, the damage Fox wrought on his extended family by supporting them, the biographer’s need to correct for hindsight, the influence of Nancy Drew on her writing career, the contrasts of her early life in Canada and her adult life in the US, and more! Give it a listen! And go buy The Man Who Made the Movies!
“One good source for the book was legal documents. Fortunately, William Fox loved to sue people, and people loved to sue him.”
About our Guest
Vanda Krefft is a former journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for publications such as Elle, Redbook, Woman’s Day, and The Los Angeles Times. In support of this book, she has received a Biography Fellowship from the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York Graduate Center, a Senior Fellowship from the Dedalus Foundation, a Helm Fellowship from the Lilly Library at Indiana University, an Albert M. Greenfield Fellowship from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and other grants and residencies. Her new book is The Man Who Made the Movies: The Meteoric Rise and Tragic Fall of William Fox.
Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Roosevelt Hotel on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. I’m not sure who took the photo of her, nor the Theda Bara pic at the top. It’s not on my instagram.