Date of Birth
October 13, 1916 XXX Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Date of Death
September 2, 1940, Palm Springs, California, USA.
American novelist, who published over 20 books, which were translated into 32 languages and sold over 50 million copies. Among
Robbins's bestsellers is The Carpetbaggers. It was loosely based on the life of Howard Hughes, taking the reader from New
York to California, from the prosperity of the aeronautical industry to the glamour of Hollywood. It's prequel, The Raiders,
appeared in 1995.
'The truth,' I said. 'Can't any of you tell the truth? Do you always have to manipulate others doing your dirty work for you
when the truth is so much simpler?'
'That's show business,' Guy said glibly.
'I don't like it,' I said.
'You better get used to it if you're going to stay in it.'
(from The Lonely Lady, 1976)
Harold Robbins was born Harold Rubin in New York City, the son of well-educated Russian and Polish immigrants. His father
was a successful pharmacist. Robbins was educated at the George Washington High School and after leaving off the school he
worked at several jobs. According to widely spread, but mostly fabricated biographical anecdotes, he spent his childhood in
an orphanage. By the age of twenty, Robbins had made his first million by selling sugar for the wholesale trade. At the beginning
of World War II, Robbins had lost all his fortune. There is also a story, that he was widowed when his supposed Asian wife
was killed by a diseased parrot.
Robbins married at a young age and moved to Hollywood where he worked for Universal Pictures, first as a shipping clerk. Later
he became a studio executive. His first book Never Love a Stranger (1948) followed the rise of an orphan from the streets
of New York , creating controversy with its graphic sexuality. In Philadelphia the book was banned. The Dream Merchants (1949)
was about Hollywood's film industry, from the first stages to the sound era. Again Robbins blended his own experiences, historical
facts, melodrama, sex, and action into a fast-moving story. "He leaned across the table. "Look, Warren, first of all, this
picture will be the real thing. It won't run just twenty minutes, it will run more than an hour. Then there is something new
that's just been developed. It's called the close-up." Never Leave Me (1953), Robbins' fourth book, is set in New York. In
the story Brad Rowan, an owner of a small advertising firm, struggles against the temptations of money, sex, and power. Brad
has been married twenty years, he loves his wife and children, but everything changes when he meets Hortense E. Schuyler:
"Her face was not quite round, her cheekbones high, her mouth soft and generous, her chin not quite square, her nose not quite
tilted, her teeth white and even, not dentist's even but human even." The Carpetbaggers (1961) was an international bestseller,
a story of Jonas Cord, whose adventures must have amused Howard Hughes, for at least he did not sue the author. Several other
characters were also easily identifiable. Later Jackie Collins made successful use of this narrative trick. Where Love Has
Gone (1962) again used Hollywood gossips and personalities. The "sculptress" of the story was a thinly veiled Lana Turner.
Later the actress answered Robbins and all scandal papers with her candid memoir The Lady, the Legend, the Truth (1982).
All eyes turned to her as she opened the door. For a moment she felt self-conscious, then with her model's walk she glided
to the center of the room and slowly turned around.
'She's got a good clean figure,' the produced said.
'Not enough tits for me,' the pratfall kid chortled. 'I'm a T-man, myself.'
(from Stiletto, 1960)
From 1957 Robbins worked as a full-time writer. Although Robbins did not have success with literary critics, he believed he
would be recognized as the world´s best author sooner or later. "You got something going inside you," he wrote in Dreams Die
First (1977). "Maybe it's the way you look at yourself. Or society. You're skeptical about everything. And still you believe
in people. It doesn't make sense. Not to me anyhow." Of his many works perhaps the most acclaimed was A Stone for Danny Fisher
(1951), a coming-of-age story set in New York in the Depression. The book was turned into a musical under the title King Creole
(1958), starring Elvis Presley. Other books include The Betsy (1971), which centered on a shrewd business-minded racing car
driver. Memories of Another Day (1979) was the story of a union leader with connections to the real life character of Jimmy
Hoffa. The Storyteller (1982) took the reader into the world of religion, money, fame, and spiritual loss and redemption.
"To give the devil his due, Mr. Robbins may have wanted to write a bristling expose of America's moneymaking televised ministries.
But it is a certainty that this glitzy commercial novel will do nothing to stop the flow of millions of dollars into those
churches' coffers. And other coffers as well." (Evan Hunter in The New York Times, September 5, 1982) Descent from Xanadu
(1984) was the story of a rich industrialist who tries to find a remedy against ageing. Peter Andrews called in The New York
Times (June 7, 1981) Robbins's novel Goodbye, Janette a "dirty book written in accordance with the demands of the form." This
time Robbins set the story in Paris. Andrews noted that the books had many sex scenes, in which the characters "actually do
things I wouldn't even talk about when I was in the Army."
Robbins was married five times. From 1982 he was obliged to use a wheelchair because of hip trouble but he continued writing.
According to Lee Server (Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction, 2002), Robbins's later years followed the devices of his own plots.
He went broke, lost his wife, and wrote his books in the hope that they "would keep him in lobster and cocaine money." Stories
tell how the author was locked in hotel suites without room service, to make him produce a sufficient number of typed pages.
Several of Robbins's books have been made into films, among them Never Love A Stranger (1958), dir. by Robert Stevens, The
Carpetbaggers (1964), directed by Edward Dmytryk, The Betsy (1977), directed by Daniel Petrie, and Harold Robbins' Body Parts
(1999), produced by Roger Corman. Harold Robbins died in 1997. His posthumously published novel, The Predators (1998), is
a combination of A Stone for Danny Fisher and The Carpetbaggers. It depicts the life of Jerome Cooper, a scrappy Jewish kid
who fights his way up and out of New York's infamous Hell's Kitchen and into the world of international business. The Secret
continued the story of Jerome, and his son, Len. Jerome tries to keep his affiliations with organized crime a secret. His
son becomes a lawyer and is gradually drawn into the world of his father. Never Enough (2001), about four friends and a crime,
is based on Robbins's story ideas and was finished by a ghostwriter. Heat of Passion (2003) also gave work for an anonymous
"It is far too simplistic to argue that each time a woman reads a magazine advocating heterosexual marriage, or a Barbara
Cartland novel, a rubber fetishist goes and buys a favorite magazine or a teenager buys a Batman comic that they are equally
vulnerable, equally exploited, equally duped. To patronize every reader of Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins is to grossly
misjudge and diminish the subject." - (Clive Bloom in Cult Fiction, 1996)
Magician Caryl Fleming
Fleming pulls skunk out of a hat.
San Diego Union-Tribune, 1940
* Never Love A Stranger, 1948 - film (1958) dir. by Robert Stevens, starring John Drew Barrymore, Steve McQueen
* The Dream Merchants, 1949 - Unelmien kauppiaat
* A Stone for Danny Fisher, 1952 - film King Creole (1958), dir. by Michael Curtiz, starring Elvis Presley, Carolyn
Jones, Dean Jagger, Walter Mathau
* Never Leave Me, 1953
* 79 Park Avenue, 1955 - suom.
* Stiletto, 1960 - film (1969) dir. by Bernard Kowalski, starring Alex Cord, Britt Ekland, Patrick O'Neal. A mafia
melodrama about a killer who decides to quit his job. - suom. Stiletti
* The Carpetbaggers, 1961 - film (1964) dir. by Edward Dmytryk, starring George Peppard, Carrol Baker, Alan Ladd,
Bob Cummings, Martin Balsam. An old-fashioned melodrama, where a young playboy inherits an aircraft business, becomes a megalomanic
tycoon and moves to Hollywood in his search for power. Set in the 1920s-30s. Alan Ladd's last film. Followed by prequel Nevada
Smith (1966), dir. by Henry Hathaway, starring Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Arhur Kennedy. A revenge story where
Smith goes after the senseless killers of his parents. Remade as a TVM in 1975, dir. by Gordon Douglas, starring Cliff Potts,
Lorne Greene. - suom. Rahantekijät
* Where Love Has Gone, 1962
* The Adventurers, 1966 - film (1970) dir. by Lewis Gilbert, starring Bekim Fehmiu, Alan Badel, Candice Bergen, Ernest
Borgine, Olivia de Haviland. Bloody adaptation of Robbins' novel, a revenge story set in a fictional Central American republic.
Sex, drugs, and sadism.
* The Inheritors, 1969 - Vallanperijät
* The Betsy, 1971 - film (1977) dir. by Daniel Petrie, starring Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones,
Katharine Ross. A melodrama of an aged car manufacturer. - suom. Autokuningas
* The Pirate, 1974
* The Lonely Lady, 1976 - Kultanainen
* Dreams Die First, 1977 - Lehtikuningas
* Memories of Another Day, 1979 - Pomo
* Goodbye, Janette, 1981
* The Storyteller, 1982 - Tarinaniskijä
* Descent from Xanadu, 1984 - Haaste kuolemalle
* Piranha, 1986 - Piraijat
* The Raiders, 1995 - Valtaajat
* Tycoon: A Novel, 1997 - Tycoon - mediaruhtinas
* The Predators, 1998
* The Secret, 2000 - Salaisuus
* Never Enough, 2001
* Heat of Passion, 2003
Reportedly, Constance lived well in the early years after the divorce, but in the ensuing years after Caryl's death her standard
of living declined dramatically.
In his last years he wasn't doing films any more, and was considered past his prime, doing small nightclubs with his magic
act each night in and around Hollywood.
Caryl's final resting-place is Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, formerly known as "Hollywood Memorial Park
Cemetery" nestled amongst Hollywood's elite such as Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power, and Cecil B.
DeMille. The cemetery sits adjacent and just north of the Paramount Studios lot. Caryl's mother Constance and stepfather
Victor Glaser are buried alongside him.
Subsequently, the RING's name was officially changed to the "Caryl Fleming RING" in honor of Caryl's many achievements
and contributions over the years to the RING and the local magic community.