Peter Bogdanovich did a little bit of everything in Hollywood. He was a writer, an actor, a film historian, a director — I think he even got coffee sometimes.
His acclaimed movies include The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, What’s Up Doc, and a host of others.
And along the way he met a number of Hollywood legends, the people he calls the original movie stars. People like John Wayne, Orson Welles, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.
In 2004, Bogdanovich published a book of his recollections of dealing with those movie stars, a book he called Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations with Hollywood’s Legendary Actors. And that’s when I met him.
In 1935, a young actor, screenwriter, and dancer had an idea.
He started a weekly amateur night competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, in New York City. And before long, Ralph Cooper and his amateur night at the Apollo became a major influence in Black Entertainment.
Over the next five decades, Cooper’s amateur night made hundreds of previously unknown performers into Stars.
I met Ralph Cooper in 1991, when he wrote A Memoir of his many years at the Apollo.