Living Dangerously


As the creator of King Kong, producer of several John Ford films, and early champion of such groundbreaking movie technologies as Technicolor and Cinerama, Merian Cooper more than merits a biographer’s attention. But you don’t get far into Mark Cotta Vaz’s colorful account, Living Dangerously, before realizing that Cooper’s life achievements as a pioneering movie mogul represented a relatively tame second act. Endowed with an insatiable hunger for adventure, Cooper lived a truly death-defying life, whether getting shot down twice as a World War I-era bomber pilot, slitting an enemy’s throat during a desperate escape from a Russian POW camp, or roaming uncharted corners of the globe as an explorer/documentarian. Through it all, Vaz rarely pauses to examine Cooper’s personal life and even less often contemplates the inner Cooper. But as biographies go, this is one heck of an action-packed beach read.

Living Dangerously
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