Best-Selling Author Proves to Be A Somebody

Best-Selling Author Proves to Be A Somebody

The Wickenburg Sun

Best-selling Author Proves to Be A Somebody

by Kirk McKnight

Staff Writer

November 30, 2022

Considering her book, A Nobody in a Somebody World: My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills, started with a promise and a buckled knee at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, best-selling author Lorraine Brodek’s journey has certainly comprised more than the 10-mile hike out of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Brodek, who, along with her husband, Tom, has worked in film and television from Germany to Phoenix, compiled many life experiences into her recently re-released book, including the one that started it all alongside friend and famous humorist Erma Bombeck.

“Erma came up with this fabulous idea that we should go down the Bright Angel Trail,” said Brodek. “We’re trekking at the bottom, the sand is hot, there’s no shade, it’s the middle of August, and the next thing I know, Erma’s knees buckle, and she is down for the count. I try to go and help her, and then I cave. I said, ‘Erma, you’ve got to write about this,’ and she said, ‘No. You’re going to write about it.’ She’s the one who put the bug in my ear about writing. She made me promise not to write until she died, which took a while. Thank God.”

Prior to her career in writing, Brodek came to Arizona in the early ’70s and eventually helped build public television’s presence in the area.

“AET (Arizona Educational Television) only had one program on, and that was Sesame Street,” said Brodek. “Tom became the chairman, I became chairman of the volunteers, and we started from scratch to try and raise funds to get the public television station out of a trailer and into a building. Our legal was Sandra Day O’Connor. We started with five chairs, a cafeteria table and those God forsaken phones where you’re calling in for $15. I loved being part of channel eight here and it see it go from being a trailer with one show a week to being 24/7. I always believe in giving back to the community in which you’re living. We did that in Hawaii as well. You’re moving into a new area, and you’re the new kid in town. What can you do to give back?”

Marketing being yet another facet of Brodek’s richly storied background, the author, during the late ’80s, gave back in the form of one of merchandising’s most historically recognizable images.

“When I was head of Direct Marketing for Warner Brothers, the team I was working with was terrific,” said Brodek. “By the luck of the draw, I happened to be there for the creation of the first Batman. I was literally in charge of getting those Batman t-shirts with that gold logo. Truthfully, that was the first time a merchandise product preceded the movie and led the charge for people. That t-shirt drove that movie and kept it going. The kids went nuts, and they were all sold out and wanted immediate replacements. People coming to the premiere were wearing those t-shirts.”

With decades worth of these life experiences “in the can,” Brodek was able to incorporate the help of her friend and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the L.A. Times, the late Al Martinez. Brodek said, “Al started on me and said, ‘Lo, you’ve got to write a book. These stories are priceless. I’m going to help you.’ So, he got me started, became the editor for the book and kept on me. He was more of a cheerleader.”

Unbeknownst to Brodek when the book originally came out, the publisher itself would provide a story worthy of its re-release, which is now available for sale.

“My book was published by Tate Publishing out of Oklahoma,” Brodek said. “I flew back to see how legit they were, and it was a huge operation. Really well done. They had the artists and the editors in-house, all in different buildings. I was impressed. I signed with them, and the book took off. All of a sudden, my royalties started going down, which happens. I got a phone call, and it was the Oklahoma Press. They said, ‘Lo, you’re not going to believe this. The owners of Tate have been arrested.’ In publishing, you own the copyright, but you don’t own the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). They do. That’s why I had to revise my book; go through and add new material, make it a new book with a new cover. That’s how I got to the point where I am.”

After “60 years together and still above snakes” with Tom, Brodek recognizes the importance of her role as conduit of her life’s story to its cornucopia of potentially interested audiences. “All those experiences come in together like spokes on a wheel, and you’re at the center of the wheel,” Brodek said. “These different rails come in and you can form it. I’ve got to talk while I still can and know my name. You want to get this out there before they’re lost.”

Brodek will be doing a book signing for the “Holiday Shop & Sip Boutique for Cancer Research” this Sunday (Dec. 4) from 3-5 p.m. at 3886 Ridge Runner Way (Wickenburg Ranch).

Brodek is a Wickenburg resident and author of the award-winning book, “A Nobody in a Somebody World; My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills,” which can be found on Amazon.

Guest Columnist at The Wickenburg Sun

Guest Columnist at The Wickenburg Sun

The Wickenburg Sun: Snowbirds of A Feather

Guest Column by Lorraine Brodeck

November 30, 2022

Webster’s Dictionary defines snowbird as:

1. Any of several birds (such as a junco or fieldfare) seen chiefly in winter.

2. One who travels to warm climates for the winter.

Undoubtedly, we’ve heard a few of the jokes “flying around” about snowbirds: including how they drive 60 mph on the #60 because they think that’s the speed limit. And they maintain this speed (or lower) in the “fast” lane (that’s the left-hand lane; also known as the “passing” lane) for those from “Can-uh-duh” (yet another snowbird joke).

But a recent news’ story featured a record set by a feathered snowbird—a young bar-tailed godwit. I’ve seen a few of those during my lifetime and some are driving on the #60. Seems this migratory godwit flew at least 8,435 miles from Alaska to the Australian state of Tasmania: non-stop, average 50 mph, over the ocean and they can’t swim! Ornithologists know this because the bird was tagged as a hatchling in Alaska with a little GPS chip and a teeny-weeny solar panel that enabled them to track its non-stop flight.

A sort of distant cousin to the godwit, named the American golden plover, uses Wickenburg as a rest stop on its way to South America. This bird is so similar to the Pacific golden plover that I believe I can speak about its behavior. The scientific name for this species is Pluvialus fulva which sounds very gynecological to me. In Hawaiian-speak, it’s klea, which translates to “one who takes and leaves”—just like our kids do when they head off to college or when our distant visitors come for a winter’s stay.

At our home on Maui, we had a klea who arrived year after year. Originally, we named her Katie. She would usually come screeching onto our lawn around September and stay until April. During her stay with us, she’d start refueling and fattening up on creepy crawlies while some of her kinfolk would touch down on golf courses—sometimes interrupting play on the back nine.

Typically, when a plover is on the ground, it will walk or run a few steps, stop suddenly and stare, then walk a few steps forward again. Just like aging human snowbirds do. A few weeks prior to its departure, the male plover grows what looks like little Nike swoosh logos on his head and neck with a black sleeveless shirt. Kinda like a tuxedo. But when Katie started growing what looked like a bowtie, we immediately renamed her Karl.

The same day that Karl decided to depart, a bunch of kleas were spotted gathering on the first runway near the Alaska Airlines terminal. Think about this: what if those handlers let them hop on the moving cargo ramp & fly baggage all the way back to Alaska? That would seem like first class to those plovers while the human snowbirds would be seated above in the cabin flying coach.

Brodek is a Wickenburg resident and author of the award-winning book, “A Nobody in a Somebody World; My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills,” which can be found on Amazon.

Connie Martinson Talks Books

Connie Martinson Talks Books

INTERVIEW: Connie Martinson Talks Books

with Lorraine Brodek

Connie hosts the syndicated television show which airs on PBS and has a wide following. Watch the interview on Youtube.

Erma Bombeck’s Workshop Features Lorraine as Humor Writer of the Month

Erma Bombeck’s Workshop Features Lorraine as Humor Writer of the Month

Erma’s Workshop Awards Lorraine: Humor Writer of the Month

Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, 2013
University of Dayton

The incomparable Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is the only event in the country devoted to both humor and human interest writing. I was honored that they highlighted my book. Here’s what they posted:

Lorraine Holnback Brodek lovingly dedicates her humorous memoir, A Nobody in a Somebody World: My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills, to her dear friend, Erma Bombeck. The book jacket includes an endorsement from her son, Matt. “Her stories about growing up in Beverly Hills, encounters with celebs and a near-death experience in the Grand Canyon with our family are priceless!” he wrote.

The Workshop also reprinted the book’s “Dedication” to Erma. Here, I retell the story about our infamous trek into the Grand Canyon (picture below) where Erma, rolling her eyes with devilish intent, verbally spouted her own obit:

“I can see the headlines now…” She rolled her eyes with devilish intent. “Famous Humorist, Newspaper Columnist and TV Celebrity Dies on Trail with Little Unknown Person.”

Of course, this was the main theme of the eulogy that I sadly, yet amusingly, presented at her funeral. She made us smile all the way up to the end and always did get in the last word.

Liz Smith Reviews A Nobody in a Somebody World

Liz Smith Reviews A Nobody in a Somebody World

"Charming and Dishy!"

From the legendary Liz Smith in her column for the New York Social Diary. Liz Smith was known as “The Grand Dame of Dish” herself and I was honored that she read my book and reviewed it in her column. Here’s what she had to say:

Liz Smith’s Review of A Nobody in a Somebody World (2013).

Lorraine Holnback Brodek was once the VP of Direct Marketing at Warner Bros. from 1985-91. Obviously, she met a lot of celebs during her tenure. But it was nothing new, because Lorraine had grown up in Hollywood, the child of well-to-do parents. They weren’t “in the biz,” but if you have money and live in the Hills of Beverly, you will invariably run into a star or twenty.

Lorraine tossed Jacks with Nora Ephron…played tennis with Ricky Nelson…went to Sunday school with the children of Eleanor Powell and Glenn Ford and Jimmy Stewart . . . she partied with Ava Astaire. And most significantly (for her), she was best friends with the late author and columnist, Erma Bombeck. Lorraine is also close with rock chick Pat Benatar. (Ms. Brodek is nothing if not eclectic in her choice of pals!)

Lorraine’s reign at WB ended on an ugly note. She was sexually harassed. But she fought back, enlisting the then not-so-well-known Gloria Allred.

But Lorraine’s memoir doesn’t go down that road much. She keeps it light and charming. Apparently, according to Pat Benatar, “this is much like the lady herself.”