Strange as It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler


Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book
Publish Date
5.5 X 1.1 X 8.4 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Chip Jacobs is the author of five other books: Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler; The Vicodin Thieves: Biopysing L.A.'s Grifters, Gloryhounds and Goliaths; The Ascension of Jerry: Murder, Hitmen and the Making of L.A. Muckraker Jerry Schneiderman; Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles (with William J. Kelly); and the privately issued Black Wednesday Boys. Jacobs' reporting has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg View, the Daily News of Los Angeles, and LA Weekly, among other outlets. Jacobs, the recipient of numerous writing commendations, lives in Southern California. Visit to learn more.


"This amazing book is all heart...Chip Jacobs blends the skills of an investigative journalist, the glitz of Hollywood, and the smooth storytelling of fiction to weave a profile of his larger-than-life uncle that will leave you crying, laughing and gasping in wonder, often on the same page. Bravo!"--Denise Hamilton, Bestselling author of Los Angeles Noir and Savage Garden

"Family memoirs are rife with grandiose tales of triumph over adversity, and while it would be easy to dismiss Jacobs' portrait of his unorthodox uncle as another such unvarnished encomium, his professional background as an award-winning investigative journalist for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and CNN prevents this from being so. With both dramatic flair and detached fairness, Jacobs eloquently reveals the soul of a charismatic and courageous character. Had Gordon's career taken place on the screen instead of behind it, he would have been the Christopher Reeve of his day."--Carol Haggas

"Readers looking for a glamorous Hollywood story or a tale of gentle uplift should be warned: This is not that book. Instead, Chip Jacobs has written something far better--a witty, clear-eyed account of a charming and utterly impossible man whose ferocious willpower transformed his personal nightmare into a lifelong Technicolor hallucination."--A. J. Langguth, Bestselling author of Patriots, Our Vietnam, and others

"FDR's body and Sammy Glick's brain? No, but close--and better. Mon Oncle d'Amerique has nothing on Chip Jacobs' Mon Oncle d'Hollywood, the picaresque, quadriplegic Gordon, who is at least as good a story as anything he helped to put on film: welfare case to Oscar-caliber movies, co-starring Ed Wood and Pope John XXIII, with snappy dialogue and auto crack-ups, lions and tiger rugs and TV bears, one Serene Highness and many spectacular lownesses. Gordon is a premiere citizen of Hollywood As She is Spoken--unsentimental but believing utterly in the art of the possible."--Patt Morrison, award-winning Los Angeles Times columnist and author

"Though not about a celebrity or newsmaker, this life being told by Chip Jacobs is an extraordinary one in the history of Hollywood. The raw courage and almost unbelievable stamina of Gordon Zahler--abetted by both love and luck--turns this irresistible biography into a page turner."--William Robert Faith, author of Bob Hope: A Life In Comedy

"Chip Jacobs captures the turbulent ups, downs, successes and failures of a life well lived in a biography which is vivid, exciting, and thoroughly engrossing."--Midwest Book Review