Bill Knoedelseder is a veteran journalist who honed his investigative and narrative skills at the Los Angeles Times, where his groundbreaking reporting on the entertainment industry produced a string of juicy exposes and two critically acclaimed books.
The first, Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the Mafia (Harper Collins), grew from his three-year investigation of payola and other corrupt practices in the record business. His work sparked five federal grand jury investigations around the country and led to the arrest and conviction of a score of organized figures, including New Jersey crime boss Gaetano “Corky” Vastola and Roulette Records founder Morris Levy, who subsequently served as the inspiration for HBO’s Tony Soprano and his music business “rabbi” Hesh Rabkin. Entertainment Weekly named Stiffed “the Best Non-Fiction work of 1993 “ and called it “the scariest book of the year...and the funniest.”
Bill’s second book, I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy’s Golden Era (Public Affairs/Perseus), chronicles the time he spent as a cub reporter covering the colorful Los Angeles comedy club scene for the newspaper in the late 1970s, when Leno, Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis and Robin Williams were just starting out. I’m Dying Up Here is the basis for Showtime’s drama series of the same title, with Jim Carrey as executive producer.
His third book, Bitter Brew, the Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, a New York Times best seller, has been optioned by CBS Studios, where it is being developed as a TV series.
Bill’s latest work, Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors and the Glory Days of Detroit, traces the progress of transportation from horse-and-wagon to jet plane through the life of the visionary designer who revolutionized the way American cars were made, marketed and even imagined.