Billy Wilkerson was the most powerful man in Hollywood during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. He was owner and publisher of the Hollywood Reporter, the film industry newspaper that became known as “Hollywood’s bible,” and he built the Café Trocadero and other legendary nightspots of the Sunset Strip. In thirty years as Tinseltown’s premier behind-the-scenes power broker, Wilkerson introduced Clark Gable and Lana Turner to the world, brought the Mafia to Hollywood, engineered the shakedown of the Hollywood studios by Willie Bioff and his mob-run unions, helped invent Las Vegas, tangled with Bugsy Siegel (and possibly was involved with his murder), touched off the Hollywood blacklist, and conspired to cripple the studio system.
Perhaps nobody in Hollywood history has ever ruined so many careers or done so much to reshape the movie industry as Billy Wilkerson, yet there has never been a solid biography of the man. Billy’s son, William R. Wilkerson III, has done tremendous research on his father, interviewing over decades everyone who knew him best, and portrays him beautifully—and damningly—in this book.