New book details writer’s celebrity meetings
|Fairlawn resident Irv Korman is shown with his book, which takes a look at his meetings with celebrities over the years.|
|Photo: Kathleen Folkerth|
But it was a chance to keep a possible stalker away from funnyman Jerry Lewis that inspired the title of his recently released book, a recollection of Fairlawn resident Korman’s celebrity encounters that came as a result of his freelance writing and reviewing for local newspapers. “I Was Jerry Lewis’ Bodyguard for 10 Minutes!” features 24 chapters of Korman’s recollections and stories.
The retired speech pathologist with Akron Public Schools, who later taught part-time at The University of Akron, said the idea for the book came to him about a decade ago, when Berle died. Korman had seen the comedian perform at The Tangier in 1980 and briefly met him at a reception afterward.
“I jotted down what I remembered,” Korman said. “Then I started to make a list of people [that I’d met] who had passed away.”
The list was extensive. It led Korman to go through his detailed files, which he kept organized by performer with publicity materials and photos, programs, notes and a copy of his review or article.
“I had a time capsule,” he said.
That same year, Korman and his friend Dave Mull were both struggling with writer’s block. To try to get over the problem, they agreed to meet every Thursday morning at alternating homes to write.
“We sat across from each other with our laptops,” he said.
Korman began writing what would become the book by taking a celebrity, writing down what he remembered from their meeting, and including what had happened with that person’s career since then until his or her death.
His daughter read over his work and told him it was too short, so Korman added a few more celebrities to the list who had not died.
His task then was to get the book published. A friend told him about a company in Amherst that published science fiction and fantasy but was looking to branch out. The publisher, James Barnes, of Loconeal Publishing, offered to publish the book a year ago, and Korman saw his first printed copies at the Cleveland Christmas Connection show at the I-X Center in November.
“I still don’t believe it,” he said of becoming a published author.
The title of the book came from his experience when Lewis appeared at the Carousel Dinner Theatre in 1990. Patrons at the first show of a 10-show stand were invited to meet the star afterward.
Korman was approached by the Carousel’s security chief and asked to stand next to the star because of concerns that a Lewis “stalker” was there.
Korman features that story in the book, as well as accounts of his meetings with Sam Kinison, Robert Reed, Steve Allen and Eddie Fisher, among others. The book also features photos of him and the stars taken by his wife, Francine.
Korman is scheduled to make appearances at local book and author events. On April 14, he’ll participate in the Ohio Author Book Fair at the Hudson Library from 1 to 4 p.m. He’ll be at the Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson May 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. to sign copies of his book.
In addition, Korman said he’s been selected to be one of the featured authors at Our Lady of the Elms next fall for its “Author! Author!” program.
Korman is enjoying his moment as an author for now, but he’s already contemplating another book. He said he’s got between 25 and 30 more stories about celebrities that he’d like to share, such as Bob Newhart, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Smothers.