If you missed Born To Win, a hidden gem from what many consider to be a golden age of Hollywood, you should rectify that immediately.
We were in trouble. A film I had written, “Born to Win”, had a director, Ivan Passer, a star, George Segal, a studio, United Artists, money for the production in the bank, and a start date. There was one problem: we did not have the female lead.
Blythe Danner had been cast in the part: it would have been her first film. Ivan and I had seen her on Broadway in the play “Butterflies Are Free” and she was extraordinary and perfect for our film, where she would play a radiant, delicate, innocent who becomes involved with a street junky hustler. And as so often happens the gods of chaos visited us at the last moment. A key element of our financing, disappeared—literally disappeared. The legendary agent and mountebank, David Begelman, had come up with a money scheme called First Artists, which would invest in a passel of films produced with clients of Begelman’s CMA Agency. Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Portier, and George Segal were to be part of it. “Born to Win”, we were told, would be First Artists’ first film.