Listen: Billy Wilkerson, Reporter, Hollywood discussed on You Must Remember This
"Segel seems to have wanted to be accepted as an equal to Hollywood's most powerful men and pursuant to that much of his presence in Hollywood wasn't as a gangster exploiting movie workers. But as a bridge between Hollywood and the underworld shortly after settling down in Los Angeles. He accepted an introduction to meet Jean Harlow and her stepfather Marino Bello as we've discussed previously on this podcast Marino Bello was a sleazy guy. But he wasn't quite a gangster Bello became Siegel's partner in a couple of shady financial schemes including an offshore gambling boat into which raft. Also sunk a chunk of money Siegel socialized with Harlow, but she died just a couple of years into his Hollywood sojourn. She was just one star Bugsy had a whole list of. Prominent and famous people in Los Angeles that he wanted to be friend. Jack, Warner one of the names on that list. Rebuffed the gangster, but many others, including apparently Clark Gable? Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant, did rub shoulders with him. Much of that fraternizing took place at nightclubs like Ciro 's and the Trocadero both of which were owned and operated by Billy Wilkerson. A former Speakeasy owner who had attained an enormous amount of local power as the editor. And publisher of the Hollywood reporter Wilkerson had started the paper in nineteen thirty. And at that time, it was the only locally published daily trade paper in Hollywood even variety which had begun as the trade paper of theater and vaudeville didn't have an LA office when Wilkerson put down his stake. Wilkerson would right over eight thousand editorials for the reporter between nineteen thirty and nineteen sixty to a failed filmmaker himself Wilkerson held a grudge against the studio heads who he believed had discriminated against him. A Catholic when they universally refused to take a chance on distributing a feature. He had made in the nineteen twenties at the reporter Wilkerson used his voice to alternately influence, studio, policy and reinforce it to disparage the moguls when it suited him and spout. The company line. When that did ultimately he made a fortune by selling ads to film companies whose reputation and commercial prospects. He had the power to manipulate and by running nightclubs were his staff could eavesdrop on champagne drunk celebrities and powerbrokers to generate content for Wilkerson column. It was an incredible racket. But it wasn't enough for Wilkerson. Who was also a compulsive gambler. He lost money on card games and horse races. As fast as the reporter Ciro 's and his other restaurants could make.."