Michael Korda

Michael Korda (born 8 October 1933) is an English-born writer and novelist who was editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster in New York City.

Michael Korda
Born8 October 1933 (age 85)
London, United Kingdom
OccupationWriter, editor
EducationInstitut Le Rosey
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
Notable worksCharmed Lives
SpouseCarolyn Keese (1958)
Margaret Mogford

Early years

Born in London, Michael Korda is the son of English actress Gertrude Musgrove, and the Hungarian Jewish artist and film production designer Vincent Korda. He is the nephew of film magnate Sir Alexander Korda and brother Zoltan Korda, both film directors.[1] Korda grew up in England but received part of his education in France where his father had worked with film director Marcel Pagnol. As a child, Korda also lived in the United States from 1941 to 1946.[1] He was schooled at the private Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland and read History at Magdalen College, Oxford.[1] He served in the Royal Air Force[2] doing intelligence work in Germany.[1]

The novelist Graham Greene was a lifelong friend. Korda met him on his Uncle Alex Korda's yacht.[1]


Korda moved to New York City in 1957 where he worked for playwright Sidney Kingsley as a research assistant and then later as a freelance reader in the CBS story department.[1] In 1958 he joined the book publishing firm, Simon & Schuster, beginning as an assistant editor, which included the task of reading slush pile manuscripts for Henry Simon.[1]

Many editors stick to one area of interest, but early on Korda demonstrated an ability and interest in editing both fiction and non-fiction. He states in his memoir that he edited books on everything from mathematics and philosophy, memoirs, fiction, translations from French, politics, anthropology and science history among others.[1] One of the first books Korda bought was The Forest People by Colin Turnbull—a memoir of Turnbull's time living with the Mbuti Pygmies in the then Belgian Congo.[1]

After Robert Gottlieb left Simon & Schuster for Alfred A. Knopf, Korda became Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster.[1] Korda was a major figure in the book industry, publishing numerous works by high-profile writers and personalities such as William L. Shirer, Will and Ariel Durant, Harold Robbins,[1] Irving Wallace,[1] Richard Nixon, Richard Rhodes and Ronald Reagan. Korda was a major part of Simon & Schuster for more than forty years. In the autumn of 1994, he was diagnosed as having prostate cancer. In 1997 he wrote Man to Man, which recounted his medical experience. In 2000, he published Another Life: A Memoir of Other People, about the world of publishing.[1]

In addition to being an editor, Korda was also a writer. In the mid-sixties Korda began to write freelance articles for Glamour magazine and eventually wrote their film review column for almost ten years.[1] Korda also wrote for Clay Felker's New York magazine including a piece that eventually became his first book, Male Chauvinism and How it Works at Home and in the Office.[1] Korda's second book, Power!, reached the number one spot on The New York Times Bestseller list in 1975.[3] Korda the writer was represented by agent Lynn Nesbit.[1]

Among Korda's other books are Charmed Lives, which the story of his father and his two uncles, and the novel Queenie, which is a roman à clef about his aunt, actress Merle Oberon, which was later adapted into a television miniseries. Korda said he felt that Charmed Lives was the book he was born to write, "as if I had been observing and storing up memories with just that purpose in mind for years."[1]

Beginning in the 2000s, Korda wrote a number of history and biography books on the Hungarian Revolution, Dwight Eisenhower, T.E. Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. On writing histories Korda said, "I've always wanted to write history, and it was only the accident of going to work for a book publisher in 1958 (and the need to earn a regular paycheck) that slowed me down".[4]

Michael Korda is Editor-in-Chief Emeritus for Simon & Schuster.[5]

Private life

Michael Korda married first wife Carolyn "Casey" Keese in 1958, and had one child, Chris.[1] Chris became the leader of the Church of Euthanasia.

Korda later married Margaret Mogford, a former fashion model and also former wife of photographer Burt Glinn.[1][6] The two shared a love of horses and met at the Claremont Riding Academy near Central Park while they were both still married to their first spouses.[1] They two co-authored a number of books together including Horse Housekeeping.[1]

Korda has written about his personal life and his hobbies. Korda is also an avid horseman and fox hunter and he authored Horse People and Horse Housekeeping. Korda met his second wife, Margaret, while riding in Central Park.[1][6] In 2001, Korda released Country Matters which chronicled his life at his second home, Stonegate Farm.[6]


  • Male Chauvinism and How It Works at Home and in the Office, Hodder and Stoughton, 1972 ISBN 0-340-19936-9
  • Power! How to Get It, How to Use It, Random House, New York, 1975, ISBN 0-394-49314-1
  • Success!, Ballantine Books, New York, 1977, ISBN 0-345-27741-4
  • Charmed Lives, Random House, 1979 ISBN 0394419545
  • Worldly Goods, Random House, 1982, ISBN 9780394512518
  • Queenie, Simon & Schuster, 1985, ISBN 0671466682
  • The Fortune, Summit Books, 1989, ISBN 0671601008
  • Man to Man: Surviving Prostate Cancer, Little, Brown & Company, 1997, ISBN 0316882976
  • Another Life: A Memoir of Other People, Random House, 1999 ISBN 0-679-45659-7
  • Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller, 1900-1999, Barnes and Noble Books, 2001, ISBN 0760725594
  • Country Matters: The Pleasures and Tribulations of Moving from a Big City to an Old Country Farmhouse, New York: Harper, 2001, ISBN 978-0060197728
  • Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero, New York: HarperCollins, 2004, ISBN 978-0-06-059015-4
  • Marking Time: collecting watches and thinking about time, New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004, ISBN 9780760735763
  • Horse People: Scenes from the Riding Life, Harper Perennial, 2004, ISBN 9780060936761
  • Horse Housekeeping: Everything You Need to Know to Keep a Horse at Home (co-authored with Margaret Korda), 2005, ISBN 978-0060573089
  • Journey to a Revolution: A Personal Memoir and History of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Harper Perennial, 2006, ISBN 978-0-06-077262-8
  • Ike: An American Hero, 2008
  • With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain, Harper, 2009, ISBN 978-0-06-112535-5
  • Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia, Harper, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-171261-6
  • Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee, Harper, 2014, ISBN 978-0-06-211629-1
  • Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat Into Victory, Liveright, 2017, ISBN 978-1631491320

Notable books as editor or publisher


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Korda, Michael (1999). Another life : a memoir of other people (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 0679456597.
  2. ^ Video: "Never … was so much owed by so many to so few" (2008). The Open Mind. 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  3. ^ "New York Times Bestseller List". The New York Times. 23 November 1975. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Why I Write: Michael Korda". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  5. ^ Darien Library (22 March 2013), Meet the Author: Michael Korda, retrieved 16 April 2016
  6. ^ a b c Rozhon, Tracie (26 April 2001). "AT HOME WITH: MICHAEL KORDA; Power! Success! Pigs! Pesticides!". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 September 2016.

External links

1972 National Society of Film Critics Awards

The 7th National Society of Film Critics Awards, given on 29 December 1972, honored the best filmmaking of 1972.The member critics voting were Hollis Alpert of World, Gary Arnold of The Washington Post, Vincent Canby of The New York Times, Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times, Jay Cocks of Time, Judith Crist of New York, David Denby of The Atlantic, Bernard Drew of the Gannett News Service, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, Joseph Gelmis of Newsday, Penelope Gilliatt of The New Yorker, Roger Greenspun of The New York Times, Molly Haskell of The Village Voice, Pauline Kael of The New Yorker, Michael Korda of Glamour, Arthur Knight of Saturday Review, Thomas Meehan of Saturday Review, William S. Pechter of Commentary, Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice, Richard Schickel of Life, Bruce Williamson of Playboy, and Paul D. Zimmerman of Newsweek.


Chauvinism is a form of extreme patriotism and nationalism and a belief in national superiority and glory. It can be also defined as "an irrational belief in the superiority or dominance of one's own group or people". Moreover, the chauvinist's own people are seen as unique and special while the rest of the people are considered weak or inferior.According to legend, French soldier Nicolas Chauvin was badly wounded in the Napoleonic wars. He received a pension for his injuries but it was not enough to live on. After Napoleon abdicated, Chauvin was a fanatical Bonapartist despite the unpopularity of this view in Bourbon Restoration France. His single-minded blind devotion to his cause, despite neglect by his faction and harassment by its enemies, started the use of the term.Chauvinism has extended from its original use to include fanatical devotion and undue partiality to any group or cause to which one belongs, especially when such partisanship includes prejudice against or hostility toward outsiders or rival groups and persists even in the face of overwhelming opposition. This French quality finds its parallel in the British term jingoism, which has retained the meaning of chauvinism strictly in its original sense; that is, an attitude of belligerent nationalism.In modern English, the word has come to be used in some quarters as shorthand for male chauvinism, a trend reflected in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, which, as of 2018, begins its first example of use of the term chauvinism with "an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex".

Eminent Lives

The Eminent Lives series is HarperCollins' series of "brief biographies by distinguished authors on canonical figures." The general editor of the series is James Atlas.

The series includes books by: Robert Gottlieb on George Balanchine; Paul Johnson on George Washington; Christopher Hitchens on Thomas Jefferson; Michael Korda on Ulysses S. Grant; Francine Prose on Caravaggio; Edmund Morris on Ludwig van Beethoven; Joseph Epstein on Alexis de Tocqueville; Peter Kramer on Sigmund Freud; Karen Armstrong on Muhammad; Bill Bryson on William Shakespeare; Matt Ridley on Francis Crick; and Ross King on Machiavelli.

Isn't She Great

Isn't She Great is a 2000 biographical comedy-drama film that presents a fictionalized biography of author Jacqueline Susann, played by Bette Midler. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, the film was directed by Andrew Bergman from a screenplay by Paul Rudnick based on a 1995 New Yorker profile by Michael Korda. The film covers Susann's entire life, focusing on her early struggles as an aspiring actress relentlessly hungry for fame, her relationship with press agent husband Irving Mansfield (Nathan Lane), with whom she had an institutionalized autistic son, her success as the author of Valley of the Dolls, and her battle with and subsequent death from breast cancer. In addition to Midler and Lane, the film stars Stockard Channing as Susann's "gal pal" Florence Maybelle, David Hyde Pierce as book editor Michael Hastings, and John Cleese as publisher Henry Marcus. John Larroquette, Amanda Peet, Christopher McDonald, Debbie Shapiro, and Paul Benedict have supporting roles.

Opening in 750 US theaters on January 28, 2000, it was assaulted by critics and shunned by the public, and earned only $3 million at the box office, far less than its cost of $44 million. Midler was nominated for a Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Award.


Korda is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alexander Korda (1893–1956), Hungarian-born British film director and producer

Alberto Korda (1928–2011), Cuban photographer

Chris Korda (born 1962), American techno musician; son of Michael Korda

Dezső Korda (1864–1919), Hungarian engineer, inventor of rotary capacitor

Jessica Korda (born 1993), American golfer; older daughter of Petr Korda

Michael Korda (born 1933), English-born American editor and writer

Nelly Korda (born 1998), American golfer; younger daughter of Petr Korda

Paul Korda (born 1948), English musician and actor

Petr Korda (born 1968), Czech tennis player

Sebastian Korda (born 2000), American tennis player; son of Petr Korda

Vincent Korda (1897–1979), Hungarian-born British art director

Zoltán Korda (1895–1961), Hungarian-born film director

Larry Ashmead

Lawrence Peel "Larry" Ashmead (July 4, 1932 – September 3, 2010) was an American book editor who helped create 100 books a year featuring such authors as Isaac Asimov, Quentin Crisp, Tony Hillerman, Susan Isaacs, Michael Korda, and Helen Van Slyke, at a string of publishers including Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, Lippincott, Harper & Row and its successor HarperCollins.

Ashmead was born on July 4, 1932, in Rochester, New York. He later recalled having been a model for a Kodak photo and then seeing an enlargement of his picture blown up to billboard size when visiting Grand Central Terminal and assumed that they did that for all visitors. When he was nine years old he heard a writer speak at a local library and was less fascinated by the author's writing than by the fact that he worked amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan editing books. He attended the University of Rochester and left after two years to serve in the United States Army. After completing his military service, he studied for a doctorate in geology from Yale University as part of a program where the cost of his education was covered by an oil company. He did not complete his Ph.D, and though he was expected to work for the company after completing his education, he decided to abandon the field, making what he called the "only bold decision of my life".He went to work as an assistant for Doubleday, where his scientific education led him to be given an assignment to work on a book written by Isaac Asimov in which Ashmead identified many errors that he pointed out to the author. Though Asimov was able to show in almost all cases that his writing was correct, he was impressed that anyone would devote so much attention to a manuscript and asked that Ashmead be assigned to edit his books. Asimov dedicated both the Old and New Testament volumes of his book Asimov's Guide to the Bible to Ashmead.

Ashmead would place advertisements in newspapers in towns where he was going to visit and would listen to proposals for books. He was receptive to book ideas generated by co-workers, and ended up publishing several books for Kate Morgenroth, a fellow employee at Harper to good reviews. He met business executive Helen Van Slyke at a dinner party and ended up publishing several of her books, which sold in the millions. While visiting London, Ashmead saw a proposal for a book about the Oxford English Dictionary that was going to be rejected by the publisher. Ashmead said "I can make this a bestseller" and worked with the author, Simon Winchester, to create the bestselling book The Professor and the Madman.Susan Isaacs credited him with the success of her books, saying in addition to "finding what was wrong", Ashmead "also knew what wasn't there." Michael Korda, a novelist who was editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster and whose books were edited by Ashmead, said he had "possibly the most clear and precise idea of what should be a book and how to get at it that I've ever known in an editor" and credited Ashmead with publishing 100 books a year, when many could only produce 20 each year.After retiring from the editing field, he wrote the 2007 book Bertha Venation: And Hundreds of Other Funny Names of Real People, published by HarperCollins, featuring such people as Hedda Lettuce and Stan Dupp, as well as a dentist named Dr. Fang and Jaime Cardinal Sin of the Philippines.A resident of Stuyvesant, New York, Ashmead died at age 78 on September 3, 2010, in Columbia County, New York due to pneumonia. His partner, Walter Mathews, had died in 2004.In 2010, The Ashmead Award was created to nurture the career of a promising young editor in the field of book publishing, as an effort to recognize and continue the tradition of Ashmead’s long history of mentoring young editors and helping them develop their careers in publishing. Winners of the award are given a scholarship to attend the Yale Publishing course.

Metro (1997 film)

Metro is a 1997 American action-comedy-thriller film starring Eddie Murphy, Michael Rapaport, Michael Wincott, and Art Evans. It is directed by Thomas Carter, and produced by Roger Birnbaum. The plot follows Scott Roper (Murphy), a hostage negotiator and inspector for the San Francisco Police Department who seeks revenge against a psychotic jewel thief, Michael Korda (Wincott), who murdered Roper's best friend, Lt. Sam Baffert (Evans).

Released on January 17, 1997 in the United States, Metro grossed $32,000,301 in the domestic market, which failed to bring back its $55,000,000 budget.

Queenie (miniseries)

Queenie was a 1987 ABC miniseries based on the eponymous novel by Michael Korda. Winston Beard (a pseudonym for James Goldman) and April Smith adapted the novel for television, with Larry Peerce directing.

The Forest People

The Forest People (1961) is Colin Turnbull's ethnographic study of the Mbuti pygmies of the then-Belgian Congo (later Zaire and now Democratic Republic of Congo).

In this book, the British-American anthropologist detailed his three years spent with the community in the late 1950s. The style is informal and accessible. Turnbull contrasts his forest-living subjects' lifestyle with that of nearby town-dwelling Africans and evaluates the interactions of the two groups.

The editor for the book was Michael Korda who attended Oxford University with Turnbull.The Forest People was the version for a general readership of Turnbull's academic thesis, which was published in an expanded, more technical form by Routledge in London as Wayward Servants: The Two Worlds of the African Pygmies (1965). Turnbull wrote about his experiences with the tribe from a first person perspective as he trove through many years with the African Pygmies. The Mbuti tribe respected him, and attempted to show him their cultural prospects as a society until a drastic change in their lifestyles occurred.

Vincent Korda

Vincent Korda (22 June 1897 – 4 January 1979) was a Hungarian-born art director, later settling in Britain. Born in Túrkeve in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, he was the younger brother of Alexander and Zoltan Korda. He was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning once. He died in London, England. He is the father of writer and editor Michael Korda.

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