Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bill Zehme  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1958 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Zehme is a Chicago native and still resides there today. He graduated from Loyola University.

Biographical and Professional Information

A recipient of the prestigious ASME Award for Profile Writing, Zehme's has been a longtime writer for ''Esquire'' and his work has appeared in ''Rolling Stone'', ''Playboy'', and ''Vanity Fair'', as well as in his collection ''Intimate Strangers: Comic Profiles and Indiscretions of the Very Famous''.Zehme is also celebrated for his observations of American pop culture. From Andy Kaufman to Frank Sinatra, he has profiled some of the most interesting icons of the entertainment world.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Bob Book
ISBN: 0440503124

Dell. 1991

A tribute to the name Bob looks at famous and not-so-famous namesakes in history, and takes a tongue-in-cheek look at hairstyles, aftershaves, clothing, and personality traits associated with the name

The Rolling Stone Book of Comedy
ISBN: 0821218484

Bulfinch Pr. 1991

Brief profiles accompany portraits of Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Lilly Tomlin, Jerry Lewis, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, and other comedians

I'm Only One Man
ISBN: 078688911X

Voice. 1996

Here, in "Reege's" inimitable voice, are his marvelous memories--of growing up in the Bronx--his years on the Joey Bishop Show, including for the first time of why he walked out, his life with his wife Joy and their daughters, teaming up with costar Kathie Lee, and hosting the Miss America Beauty Pageant, plus hundreds of other memorable moments that will surprise and delight fans. HC: Hyperion.

Leading With My Chin
ISBN: 0060186941

Harper Collins. 1996

The comedian and host of The Tonight Show offers a hilarious collection of anecdotes about growing up, his careers as a mechanic and stand-up comic, life on the road, and success. 1,000,000 first printing. $500,000 ad/promo. Tour.

The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'
ISBN: 0060931752

William Morrow Paperbacks. 1999

In The Way You Wear Your Hat, author Bill Zehme presents a masterful assembly of the most personal details and gorgeous minutiae of Frank Sinatra's way of livingmatters of the heart and heartbreak, friendship and leadership, drinking and cavorting, brawling and wooing, tuxedos and snap-brimsall crafted from rare interviews with Sinatra himself as well as many other intimates, including Tony Bennett, Don Rickles, Angie Dickinson, Tony Curtis, and Robert Wagner, in addition to daughters Nancy and Tina Sinatra.

Capturing the timeless romance and classic style of the fifties and the loose sixties, The Way You Wear Your Hat is a stunning exploration of the Sinatra mystique.

Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman
ISBN: 0385333722

Delta. 2001

From Bill Zehme, renowned journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin', comes this masterful biography of the late comic genius Andy Kaufman.

Based on six years of research, Andy's own unpublished, never-before-seen writings, and hundreds of interviews with family members, friends, and colleagues, Lost in the Funhouse takes us through the maze of Kaufman's mind to see, firsthand, the fanciful landscape that was his life.

Andy Kaufman was often a mystery even to his closest friends. Remote, aloof, impossible to know, his internal world was a kaleidoscope of characters fighting for time on the outside. He was as much Andy Kaufman as he was Foreign Man (tenk you veddy much), who became the lovably dithering Latka on the hit TV series Taxi. He was a contradiction, a paradox on every level, an artist in every sense of the word.

In Lost in the Funhouse, Bill Zehme sorts through a life of misinformation put forth by a master of deception to uncover the man behind the legend. Magically entertaining, it is a singular biography matched only by its singular subject.

Who Wants to Be Me?
ISBN: 0786867396

Hyperion. 2000

Offers a glimpse into the fun-filled life of the host of the popular quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," and includes humorous anecdotes about his wife Joy and his former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.

Intimate Strangers: Comic Profiles and Indiscretions of the Very Famous
ISBN: 0385333749

Delta. 2002

Schwarzenegger intimidates.
Sharon Stone strips.
Leno and Letterman duel.
In twenty years of raw and raucous celebrity profiles

Irreverently bold journalist Bill Zehme has long been celebrated for his ability to get under the skins of our most elusive icons, from the evasive Warren Beatty to the ever-unpredictable Madonna to the much misunderstood Barry Manilow. Now his most provocative work is collected for the first time, with over twenty-five landmark profiles, including Frank Sinatra, Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, Liberace, Howard Stern, Eddie Murphy, and Woody Allen.

Zehme witnesses Hugh Hefner withstanding the single blow that never entered into an adolescent boy’s dreams--losing his fantasy woman. He gets a nude massage with Sharon Stone, and an earful about men, sex, and the shotgun she keeps under her bed. Included, too, is Zehme’s exclusive firsthand coverage of David Letterman and Jay Leno, before and throughout their late-night feud. Here is entertainment history through the eyes of a man the Chicago Tribune called “one of the most successful and prolific magazine writers in the country.”

Hilarious, endearing, and wickedly insightful, Intimate Strangers captures the business of celebrity for what it is: a big, lusty, star-crossed love affair between our icons and ourselves.

Carson the Magnificent: An Intimate Portrait (Random House Large Print)
ISBN: 0739325736

Random House Large Print. 2007

Hef's Little Black Book
ISBN: 006218430X

It Books. 2012

"[A] breezy, charming chronicle."
Time Out New York

The legendary founder of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner invites you into his world with Hef's Little Black Book, an illustrated treasury of advice and maxims. The only book ever written by the iconic publisher and unabashed hedonist, Hef's Little Black Book features a new, updated Afterword from Hef himself. Dedicated Playboy readers and fans of The Girls Next Door, the hit reality TV series that takes you behind the doors of the Playboy Mansion, will not want to miss this fantastic guide to the very good life from the man who has lived it better than anyone.


ASME Award for Profile Writing

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

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