Hollywood remembered producer Leonard Goldberg today, with a roster of tributes reflecting his long history in television and film.
“I met Len 40 years ago on a show called Charlies Angels,” said Jaclyn Smith. “He was an important part of the richest years of my career. It was this shared history that became a wonderful friendship. I have the greatest respect for him not only professionally but more importantly as a loving family man. Len, you are now truly surrounded by angels.”
Barry Diller: “Though the word is so often misused, Leonard Goldberg was the mentor of mentors to me and so many others — he gave you confidence and support and the leeway to make mistakes and he had the sure sense of himself to let you shine. He gave me my first job and nurtured a wrangly kid into something of an executive, and....he was decent, kind, clever, and a first class citizen.”
Scott Rudin: “Leonard was the kind of executive and producer that simply does not exist any longer. He was a one-off. There won't - there can't - ever again be a career like his. He invented more things than it's possible to count. And he was a brilliant, exciting, challenging, demanding, remarkably empowering and deeply inspiring boss. I learned more from him than I would ever admit. I owe him a huge amount of my own career.”
Samuel L Jackson: “Leonard Goldberg had that unique quality of making anyone feel comfortable & special in his presence. My wife, daughter & I are thankful for the joy of our friendship, we'll miss him dearly!”
Sherry Lansing: “Leonard was one of the finest people I have ever known. He was highly intelligent and had a great sense of humor. Above all, he was nice to everyone he met — and was admired and loved by them in return. His films and television series will live forever. He also was that unique individual who achieved great success and had a balanced life... He had an extraordinary marriage, wonderful children and grandchildren. He was a great friend, and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.”
David Geffen: “Leonard Goldberg was a friend of mine for almost 50 years…he was a pioneer in broadcasting…..he was talented, creative, inventive, warm and devoted to his family. He gave many people their first job in TV including Barry Diller and Michael Eisner. I will miss him.”
Judy Sheindlin Judge Judy: “Leonard was a giant whose talent, grace, wisdom and strength of character are the template for a life well lived. He fought so hard to stay on this side of heaven. I will miss him and good counsel.”
Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Show: The Secret History of Hollywood
Where You Can Stream It: The podcasting app of your choice.
The Pitch: The Secret History of Hollywood is the most compelling, immersive, and emotional podcast I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Each season consists of deep dives into a major Hollywood figure, tracing its subject’s rise to prominence and giving incredible insight into their home lives, painting a portrait so captivating and well-rounded that biographies or books on the subjects could only dream to achieve.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Listening: I’ve been thinking about this podcast a lot since I first stumbled across it several years ago, but I think it’s especially appropriate to recommend it right now because some of its episodes are incredibly lengthy – many clock in around an hour and a half, but some of them stretch to four, six, or even nine hours long. Yes, really. Some of you may scoff, but isn’t being in quarantine the perfect time to give a long-form podcast a chance?
Adam Roche, the voice behind the show, had no background in sound editing or sound production when he got started, but he could have fooled me: the series reminds me of an old-time radio show, complete with sound effects and Roche doing voices as he plays the people in a given scene. I realize that may sound cheesy, and it absolutely would be in less-capable hands. But trust me: Roche’s mellifluous voice and incredibly researched accounts are perfect for this type of storytelling.
The show has brought me to tears multiple times over the years, and I think a huge part of the reason for that is because of the long episode lengths. Like a great TV series you never want to end, you get to spend hours and hours with the subjects of these episodes and build emotional connections to them, so when they they experience hardships, a project goes wrong, or they lose a loved one, the results can be unexpectedly powerful.
The show has earned the attention of Hollywood vets like Peter Ramsey Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mark Gatiss Sherlock, Game of Thrones, the latter of whom lends his own terrific voice to introductions of the most recent season, which covers the prolific producer Val Lewton Cat People, The Body Snatcher, The Ghost Ship. I knew nothing about Lewton or his work before I listened to the eleven episode season, but by the end, I feel like not only do I know all about him, but I feel I’ve experienced his highs and lows right alongside him. It’s truly spellbinding stuff, and it comes with my absolute highest recommendation.