Press kit for I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History

Mirisch press kit | Press release | Blurbs | Reviews | Author's bio | Author's photo | Cover image | Excerpt


I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
Walter Mirisch
Forewords by Sidney Poitier and Elmore Leonard
Wisconsin Film Series, Patrick McGilligan, Series Editor
Publication date March 2008
408 pp. 6 x 9
59 b/w photos

ISBN-13: 978-0-299-22640-4
Cloth $29.95 t

Press Release

Pdf of Press Release | Text reader version


“Legendary producer, visionary filmmaker, courageous seeker of truth, especially in troubling times.”—Sidney Poitier, from his foreword

“From Bomba, the Jungle Boy to Some Like It Hot and In the Heat of the Night . . . Walter Mirisch produced many of the films which dazzled and inspired me (and I’m not kidding about Bomba. I loved those movies as a kid.) When I later acted in one of his (lesser) productions, The Spikes Gang, I learned that a prolific and brilliant producer could also be a terrific guy and a wonderful teacher. No surprise then that Walter has given us a wise and utterly engrossing look at his life . . . and extraordinary experiences in this film business.”—Ron Howard

“Walter Mirisch’s love of movies led him to make some of the best films that the industry has produced. Whether as producer or as an executive of one of the best production companies in town, he has seen it all and now can tell it all to you from his own fiercely independent perspective.”—Steven Spielberg

“Walter Mirisch has written the quintessential behind-the-scenes book on the glory days of Hollywood. If you ever wanted to know everything there was to know, this will surely be touted as a ‘bible’ of our industry—for Walter tells it as it really was, with the integrity for which he is known and loved. It is an engaging story; insightful and entertaining, poignant with personal anecdotes.”
—Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards


[“A compelling look at a remarkable life and the inside scoop on how the film business really works.”—Larry King

“The book is jammed with nifty behind-the-scenes tales and anecdotes he has collected on and off the set.” —Robert Osborne, Hollywood Reporter

“I love learning things I didn’t know about the movie business. That’s why I enjoyed Walter Mirisch’s memoir so much; it’s full of insights and revelations drawn from his long and storied career. . . . I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History is a panoramic look at the film industry from the 1940s to the 1990s, with all its highs and lows. I would call it a must-read.”—Leonard Maltin

“Mirisch's engaging memoir, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History is exactly the kind of book anyone who has had the privilege of knowing Mirisch over the decades would have expected of him. It is unpretentious, straightforward and is suffused with a sustaining love of family and of filmmaking. He takes an honest pride in his accomplishments and accolades while sharing the credit with his collaborators but takes full responsibility for the inevitable failures and disappointments that beset all filmmakers.”—Los Angeles Times

“It's really very simple: The movies he produced are Walter Mirisch's greatest testament. Some Like it Hot. The Apartment. The Magnificent Seven. The Great Escape. West Side Story. In the Heat of the Night. The Pink Panther. A Shot in the Dark. The Party. Man of the West. The Thomas Crown Affair. Fiddler on the Roof. It is an amazing roster of quality that has, as they say, stood the test of time, including three Best Picture winners (The Apartment, West Side Story, In the Heat of the Night.) Mirisch's new memoir, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History, is a detailed, precise record of a working producer. It's not about the accumulation of power or money, nor is it about making movies as an excuse to snag women. It is, rather, a comprehensive account of how movies get made—their creative and financial organization.”—Scott Eyman, Palm Beach Post


Author's Bio:

Walter Mirisch is the producer, in whole or in part, of more than one hundred films. Among the Mirisch Company’s honors are three Oscars for best picture—The Apartment (1960), West Side Story (1961), and In the Heat of the Night (1967). Mirisch has also received two honorary Academy Awards, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1977) and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (1983); and has been honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award (1977) presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures (1995) presented by the Producers Guild of America. He has been decorated by the Republic of France with its Order of Arts and Letters, has received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is a recipient of the UCLA Medal, that university’s highest award. Mirisch served three terms as president of the Producers Guild of America and four terms as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

For more information, in addition to this press kit, contact Chris Caldwell, our publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734, email:

[Return to the book page for Walter Mirisch's book.]


Cover image:

The cover of Mirisch's book is a photo of Walter at a desk with awards, and in the background, a list of all the movies.

This cover image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book.
For a 300 dpi version, click here.

Author Photo:

a photo of Walter Mirisch, outside, in the autumn.

This image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version of this image, click here.

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Updated July 31, 2008.

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