Between the 1950s and the mid-1970s, London was invaded by a breed of creative Americans too offbeat for America – people like the journalist John Crosby (credited with writing, in 1965, the first article on Swinging London), the novelist Elaine Dundy (Kenneth Tynan’s first wife), the theatre impresario Jim Haynes (founder of the Traverse Theatre), Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, man-about-town Jay Landesman (my dad!) and Clancy Sigal, who died last year.
My dad and Sigal were so similar. Both were handsome, sex-mad American Jews. Like my dad, Sigal put his talent into his life, his life into his writing and his penis into any woman with a pulse. Both were famous nobodies who knew everybody famous on the cultural scene of their times.
Black Sunset is Sigal’s account of his life as a young agent in Hollywood in the 1950s. It was a time of paranoia and fear – fear of the twin evils of communism and television. Sigal’s role was to find