Starstruck with Leonard Maltin

During the recent 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival, Classic Couple sat down with movie critic and film historian Leonard Maltin and his daughter and business partner Jessie Maltin. We asked the father-daughter duo about Leonard’s newest book, Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood. Our chat follows.

Classic Couple: How is Starstruck a love story?

Leonard Maltin and Jessie Maltin

Leonard Maltin: Well, it’s a love story of me and my wife. That’s for sure. I was 23 when we met, but I was already feeling jaded because I hadn’t had a good or a potentially long running relationship with a woman and I was feeling kind of kind of cranky about that. Then we met and we talked about getting married. And here we are.

Then there were different kinds of love I found when we had our daughter Jessie. I didn’t get to cover it in the book, but now yet another kind of unconditional love is for our granddaughter who lives under the same roof as us. We get to watch her every day, and she’s just brought a new light into our lives. So that’s all under the heading of love. And in a different way, my love of movies, which is unabated.

Classic Couple: The name Leonard Maltin is synonymous with the movies and it’s a family business. What does your legacy mean to you?

Leonard Maltin: I don’t think about legacy. I think about what am I doing next week.

Classic Couple: So, what are you doing next week?

Leonard Maltin: I don’t know. Next Thursday I teach the final class of the semester at USC. It’s very rewarding working with about 300 students. A lot of them wind up in the industry, which is really good, and it’s fun.

Jessie Maltin: He didn’t want to write Starstruck because he said that he didn’t think anybody would care about his stories. He said, “I don’t want to write a memoir because nobody really cares about that stuff for me.” And my mom and I asked, with her beating him senseless. We told him that they would and we had to make him write it. Even then, he still didn’t write it from the perspective of here’s my life I’ve done cool things. He said, “I can write this if I tell them how interesting so and so was and how lucky I was to talk to this person.” It’s just not how he operates, which is probably why he’s a nice person.

Leonard Maltin: I’m a writer. I love it. I’m a writer who, through circumstance, got a chance to get on television and speak my own words. But it still goes back to the writing, expressing myself. If I get interested in something I feel the urge to express myself.

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Buy the Book: Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood by Leonard Maltin is a must-read for avid movie lovers and classic film fans.

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