A Wish Beyond The Stars – The Johnny Martino Story by Richard Lester

As promised, author and Kalico Village resident Richard Lester is here to talk with Terry about his new best selling book. We want to Thank Richard for gracing us with this interview!

TERRY:
Hi, Richard. I have to tell you, I read your new book and loved it. Honestly, though, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Famous actors, Hollywood, the Mafia… those are not subjects I’m usually drawn to. I read the book solely because you wrote it, and was thoroughly intrigued with it.

RICHARD:
Well, thank you, Terry. I really enjoyed writing it, too! For those who don’t know, my latest book project is titled A Wish Beyond The Stars, and it is the story of legendary Hollywood character actor, Johnny Martino.

TERRY:
So tell us a little about Johnny Martino.

RICHARD:
Johnny has had an amazing show business career, starting with a Top 100 rock and roll song back in the 1950’s (Babysitting Baby), up to the present time where he is still doing movie roles. He became famous doing gangster parts in such movies as Capone (with Ben Gazzara and Sylvester Stallone) and Dillinger (with Warren Oates and Ben Johnson). He is most remembered, however, for his iconic role of Paulie Gatto — Marlon Brando’s traitorous bodyguard in The Godfather.

TERRY:
How did you meet him Johnny?

RICHARD:
As you know, my son Gary and I have our own film production company, Blue Heron International Pictures. We met Johnny through our business, and over the past few years, he has helped us out on a number of our projects.

TERRY:
What is your favorite part of the book?

RICHARD:
Of course I love all of Johnny’s behind-the-scenes movie stories, as well as his experiences with Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, and even Pope Pius XII. However, my absolute favorite sections are about his father’s connections with Lucky Luciano.

Luciano is best known as a mobster, but wait until you read the book and discover his other side. Johnny’s father and Luciano teamed up to make the New York water-front safe from Nazi sabotage during World War II, and they went on to help Naval Intelligence to secretly prepare Sicily for an Allied landing — saving the lives of thousands of American GI’s in the process. This is a Lucky Luciano story most people know nothing about, and it would make a great movie.

TERRY:
Are you and Gary planning to make it into that great movie?

RICHARD:
Stay Tuned! 🙂

TERRY:
You have also written other books about interesting people. Can you tell us a little about that?

RICHARD:
Yes, in fact I only write about interesting people. My first book, Flight of the Blue Heron, is a collection of essays about people whom I have come across in life, and who have a very interesting story to tell. They range from Holocaust survivors and rescuers, to the son of Sheriff Pat Garrett, to Buford Pusser in Tennessee — the sheriff immortalized in the movie, Walking Tall.

My second book, Hollywood Legend: The Johnny Duncan Story, is about my good friend who became famous playing Robin in the 1949 serial, Batman & Robin. He tells of his friends in Hollywood, including Humphrey Bogart, Robert Lowery, Alan Ladd, and his neighbor, Audie Murphy.

TERRY:
I’m really thrilled that A Wish Beyond the Stars is doing so well for you. I would tell anyone who’s looking to read a fun and fascinating biography to be sure to pick it up! Of course, we have a link on the web site in our Kalico Village Store where it can be purchased. Tell us where else we can find the book.

RICHARD:
Besides the Kalico Village Store, all my books are available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Books-A-Million.com — as well as about two dozen smaller internet book retailers throughout the world. Two of them are available electronically on Kindle, Nook, and I-Pad as well.

TERRY:
And what is your next project?

RICHARD:
At the moment, we are finishing up our first feature-length movie and it is a documentary about animals and the bonds they form with their humans. It is a love story featuring some of the cutest, most intelligent, and most talented little creatures who we call our pets — animals who truly carve a place in our hearts and become part of our families.

We are thrilled to have former child star Beverly Washburn featured in the film. She owns rescued animals and devotes proceeds from her book, Reel Tears, to animal rescue organizations. Beverly was the adorable little girl in Walt Disney’s Old Yeller, and also appeared in Shane with Allan Ladd. Her body of work on early television shows is immense — ranging from The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train, Dragnet, Leave It To Beaver, the Loretta Young Show to stage and TV appearances with her life-long friend Jack Benny. We are thrilled to have Beverly headlining our cast in Forever Friends.

TERRY:
Thank you so much Richard! Continued success with the book, and we’ll be keeping everyone posted on the progress of Forever Friends!

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4 thoughts on “A Wish Beyond The Stars – The Johnny Martino Story by Richard Lester

    • If I had read that note on Frank Sinatra’s door, I’d have turned and tiptoed back down the driveway! Ha Ha! I guess that’s why Johnny’s famous and I’m not! This book is a great read!

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