Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season: Confessions of a Casting Director

BearManor Media. Jan. 2023. 420p. ISBN 9781629339528. pap. $30. MEMOIR
Thurm was responsible for casting many popular TV shows, such as The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, the pilot for Fantasy Island, and more, as well as the movies Grease and Airplane. Thurm has insider tales to tell, and he doesn’t hold back in this industry memoir. He is adamant that there were no casting-couch shenanigans on his watch, but he has no problem naming production bigwigs who indulged. He also reveals how casting decisions were made and those who almost made the cut. For example, James Mason as Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island and Elaine Stritch as Dorothy on The Golden Girls were early thoughts. Though Thurm asserts that 90 percent of the success of a TV show or film is in good casting, he doesn’t think casting directors get the respect they are due. The book ends with a list of every pilot that made it to series at NBC when he was there, with his trenchant opinions about each.
VERDICT A fun and fascinating addition to the showbiz-memoir genre that will be of interest to celebrity mavens and serious film students alike.
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