That Reminds Me is a conversational memoir by Hollywood biographer and award-winning author Norman Zierold. Rather than a chronology of his life, the author engages the reader in a conversational manner, relating various episodes from his life that come to mind, one triggering another. There’s never a dull moment!
Norman Zierold’s charmed life started humbly in the Amana Colonies of Iowa. All that changed after Norman joined the Navy. The war came to an end and Norman used the GI Bill of Rights to attend Harvard, where he graduated cum laude. He then earned a graduate degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.
While looking for work he was given the opportunity to teach English in France. One of his jobs was enjoying English conversations with the son of the President of France. They even invited him to watch the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on television at their personal residence. Other meetings with cultural luminaries ensued.
Upon Norman’s return to the States he headed for New York, where he worked his way up to becoming the editorial director of Theatre Arts Magazine. Eventually he went to Hollywood to fulfill his lifelong calling to become a writer and published several noted Hollywood biographies: The Child Stars, The Moguls: Hollywood’s Merchants of Myth, Garbo, Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen; and two true-crime accounts, Little Charley Ross: The story of America’s first kidnapping for ransom, and Three Sisters in Black, which garnered a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He also wrote a science-fiction novel titled The Skyscraper Doom.
In the late 1960s, when Barbara Walters was an anchor on NBC’s Today Show, she interviewed Norman on his recently published book, Little Charley Ross. He describes a humorous account of what happened as they were preparing to go on air. Before the segment was about to begin Barbara was pressing her leg against Norman’s under the table in what seemed to him a suggestive fashion. He wondered if she might be coming on to him and didn’t know what to do. She asked him if he felt that, and he sheepishly said he did. She then explained that this was the signal for him to quickly finish his sentence during the interview so they could break for a commercial. Norman felt relieved. After the interview they had a private chat off camera about Judy Garland since Norman had written about her in The Child Stars, and Barbara’s then husband, Lee Guber, had produced one of Judy’s world tours. They had met and Judy’s issues about her mother came up. Barbara had her own opinion about Judy’s relationship with her mother, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what she said and Norman’s take on it.
In addition to Barbara Walters, Norman met many cultural icons of the day, like Andy Warhol, Shelley Winters, Anthony Quinn, Mae West, Groucho Marx, Roddy McDowall, Jackie Coogan, Rex Harrison, Anais Nin, Tennessee Williams, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, a president of France, the gifted composer Francis Poulenc, and TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to mention a few. Norman spent many months with Anthony Quinn helping him edit down his thousand-page biography into something publishable. It did very well.
In the early 70′s Norman took up the practice of Transcendental Meditation. He found it so satisfying he became a teacher and taught the TM technique to several hundred people. Since 2002 he has been living in Fairfield, Iowa, and works in his retirement years as a part-time publicist in the communications office at Maharishi University of Management.
WHERE TO ORDER THAT REMINDS ME
Sit down with Norman Zierold and enjoy a fascinating conversation. Order copies of That Reminds Me from Amazon or Barnes & Noble in the US. Release date is January 12 2013. Also available in Canada, the UK and Europe in paperback, and Amazon’s Kindle worldwide.
Diane Vance interviewed Norman Zierold at Revelations Café for The Fairfield Ledger, which came out March 12, 2013: Fairfield author talks about recent work. In case you can’t access the full article online you can see what it looks like here: Fairfield author talks about recent work – By DIANE VANCE – Fairfield, IA – Fairfield Ledger. I also posted it here: Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café.
Tony Ellis wrote a feature article in the March 2013 issue of The Iowa Source, Iowa’s Enlightening Magazine: Norman Zierold: A Charmed Life: Celebrated Hollywood Author Reminisces on Six Decades of Extraordinary Encounters. You can also download a PDF of the article on Norman Zierold as it appears in The Iowa Source.
Here’s a great article about Norman Zierold in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling.
Here’s a comprehensive article Norman Zierold wrote for Healthy Referral on THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION.
Norman Zierold was interviewed by KMCD host Steve Smith for the MUM Spotlight show on January 10, 2013. Click here to listen. (17:23)
Norman Zierold will be interviewed on 100.1 FM KRUU in Fairfield. The show, Writers’ Voices, airs Friday, January 11, 2013, 1:00–2:00 p.m. CT, and replays Monday, January 14, 2013, 8:00–9:00 a.m. CT. Tune in: Listen Live.
This great description posted by host Monica Hadley says it all: From Iowa, Around the World, and Back Again with Norman Zierold. “That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir” by Norman Zierold, takes the reader on an exuberant journey, both outward and inward, from pre-Depression-era Iowa (the Amana Colonies), to Europe, NYC, Hollywood, and back again to Iowa (Fairfield, that is.) Join Writers’ Voices hosts Monica Hadley and Caroline Kilbourn to learn from Norman the inside stories that only the author of such Hollywood biographies as “Garbo”, “The Child Stars”, and “The Moguls” would know. How did a boy from the Amanas come to rub elbows with the rich and famous of the mid-20th century? And what brought him back to Iowa?
Update: If you missed it, the Writers’ Voices Archives now has Norman’s interview (59:51) posted there as well as on monicahadley’s Audio page. And KRUU station manager James Moore created a permanent link to the interview here: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14926.
A third interview took place at a book signing in the Maharishi University of Management Library on Saturday afternoon, March 2, 2013. Rustin Larson talked with Norman Zierold about his conversational memoir, That Reminds Me. Download and enjoy this very entertaining interview. (87 MB)
Tags: Anais Nin, Andy Warhol, Anthony Quinn, Barbara Walters, biographies, books, Celebrities, cultural icons, Dylan Thomas, e.e. cummings, Edgar Allen Poe Award, Edith Bel Geddes, entertainment, Fairfield Iowa, film critics, France, Francis Poulenc, Garbo, Groucho Marx, Hollywood, Hollywood Biographies, Jackie Coogan, John Simon, Literature, Little Charlie Ross, Mae West, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharisihi University of Management, memoirs, Mystery Writers of America, New York City, Norman Zierold, oscars, Paris, Pauline Kerr, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen, Shelley Winters, Tennessee Williams, The Child Stars, The Moguls, Theatre Arts Magazine, Three Sisters in Black, TM, Transcendental Meditation, travel, Writing