Former TV critic publishes book on conversations with old Hollywood filmmakers


A Blaine author and former national TV columnist recently co-authored a book on his conversations with old Hollywood filmmakers that include the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.

“They Made the Movies: Conversations with Great Filmmakers” captures the golden age of Hollywood through the interviews of Blaine resident Ron Miller and James Bawden, a late TV columnist for the Toronto Star. The 392-page book, published by the University Press of Kentucky, features 31 exclusive interviews with directors and producers about stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Spencer Tracy, Mae West, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and Elvis Presley.

Miller was a nationally syndicated TV columnist for the San Jose Mercury News from 1977-99 and national president of the Television Critics Association. “They Made the Movies: Conversations with Great Filmmakers,” which was released in October, is the latest in a series of books Miller and Bawden published of their Hollywood interviews.

“All of the filmmakers and directors are now deceased. We thought that this was one way to preserve their actual conversations with us,” Miller said. “You hear the producers and directors talking  in their own language about what they did and it’s very revealing in a lot of cases because they could talk about a lot of people who couldn’t sue them because they were dead.”

Miller said he and Bawden wanted to reveal what the stars were like working with people who weren’t famous and how they behaved in everyday life.

“We figured that these mythmakers at the studios had spun out a lot of stories about what these people were really like but it was all baloney,” Miller said. “They were just regular people trying to cope with the work they had to do and a lot of them had the whole film resting on their fame and box office appeal.”

“They Made the Movies: Conversations with Great Filmmakers” is the seventh book that Miller has either authored or co-authored on movies and television. Miller previously held film lecture programs at Semiahmoo Resort and has taught at Western Washington University.

Miller will discuss “They Made the Movies: Conversations with Great Filmmakers” at 6 p.m. Friday, February 9 at Village Books in Bellingham. The talk was rescheduled from January due to inclement weather. 

This article was updated to include the date of Miller's rescheduled event.  


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