Sam Wasson is a fabulous social historian because he finds meaning in situations and stories that would otherwise be forgotten if he didn’t sleuth them out, lovingly.
—Hilton Als, The New Yorker
Wasson is a canny chronicler of old Hollywood and its outsize personalities... More than that, he understands that style matters, and, like his subjects, he has a flair for it.
—Michael Schulman, The New Yorker
L.A. native Sam Wasson studied Film at Wesleyan University and at the USC School of Cinematic Arts before publishing his first book, A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards, in 2009. The definitive account of Edwards’s magisterial fifty-year career, Splurch—which Andrew Sarris called “the critical resurrection of Blake Edwards”—encouraged Wasson to explore the phenomenon of Edwards’s most popular film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in greater depth. In 2010, Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman became a New York and Los Angeles Times Best Seller, has been translated in over a dozen languages, and was named one of the best books of the year by several national publications including The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Paul on Mazursky, Wasson’s book of conversations with the legendary writer-director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, was published in 2011, and incited Quentin Tarantino to write, “Paul Mazursky is one of the great writer-directors of cinema.”
Fosse, Wasson’s 2013 biography of the legendary director-choreographer of Cabaret, Chicago, Pippin, and All That Jazz, appeared on over a half-dozen Best of the Year lists including NPR and Entertainment Weekly, and was called “one of the most eloquent showbiz accounts in years” by the Chicago Tribune.
Wasson’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Wall Street Journal. He’s served as a consultant for The Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA Film, was a Visiting Professor of Film at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and currently teaches film at Emerson College in Los Angeles. As panelist and lecturer Wasson has appeared all over the world, from the 92nd Street Y in New York to Toronto’s Bell Lightbox Theater to the Rome International Film Festival, has been a featured guest on CNN, BBC, Fox, ABC, and NPR, and an uninvited guest at many dinner parties.
His new book, Improv Nation: How We Made A Great American Art, will be released December 2017.
Sam lives in Los Angeles.
Photo by Gary Copeland