Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Home | Biography | Forty-Eight X | Seeking Sinai |Stories | Credits | Media | Contact

BARRY POLLACK: A BIOGRAPHY

My life has been a merry-go-round. There have been plenty of ups and downs. I've changed horses a lot. But, I'm enjoying the ride, still trying to catch that brass ring that defines me as a person - and as a writer.

Let me begin in college, at the end days of one of the many schools I attended. In 1967, I was a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy. I had dreams of becoming a "jet pilot," an adolescent fantasy perhaps, but nonetheless moving toward fruition. I could arch back my shoulders, suck it in, and spit shine with the best of them - but still I was not very "military." It was the height of the Vietnam War. Like many young people at the time, I became disenchanted with that war; decidedly not a good mind set for someone setting out on a military career. So, I resigned from the USAFA and went off to Penn State where I quickly got my bachelor's degree. Shortly after graduation, I decided on another career. I would become a filmmaker. I left my childhood home in Philadelphia, and after a brief tear-gassing experience at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, I arrived in California where I eventually received my master's degree in film from Stanford. There, I made several documentary shorts. One was called Some of My Best Friends are Bottomless Dancers. That sexy title and a few film festival prizes led to my being accepted as a writing-directing fellow at the new American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

My opportunity to become a "professional," read paid, writer came after I spent a summer traveling with east coast carnivals, researching another documentary on "carnie folk" - which never got made. But during that summer, I came to know nearly every "freak" in the United States - the two-headed man, the fat lady, the pin cushion man, midgets and giants. As a result, when a friend was hired by Roger Corman to write the remake of a movie called Freaks, I was hired as the casting director. That picture was never made either but after showing the Corman brothers some of my writing, I was given the opportunity to write the remake of John Huston's Asphalt Jungle and turn it into a "black" film. That was the era of black exploitation films like Shaft and Cleopatra Jones. And that's how, in 1972, I became the white "black exploitation" writer-director of the MGM film Cool Breeze. That picture wasn't a blockbuster nor critically acclaimed, but it was a respectable first effort, and made a profit. I thought I was on my way in Hollywood and during the making of that first film, I met my wife, Margaret. Even though I'm no longer the "famous" Hollywood writer-director she thought she was marrying, she's stuck with me ever since. My next venture was a film called This is a Hijack which I ignobly claim as being one of the "top ten" worst pictures in the history of cinema. As the cliché goes, I couldn't get arrested after that as a Hollywood director - or as a writer. After mulling over my options in the film business, I made another drastic career change. I became a doctor.

In 1980, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School and after a brief residency at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, I began working as an emergency physician. I am still, to this very day, an "ER doc." But I have continued to write - several prime time television dramas like Trapper John, M.D. and Hotel, some magazine short stories, several unproduced screenplays, and almost ten years of columns for the Ventura County California STAR newspapers (Biography stories, Travel Stories, and Medical stories).

I'm working on a new career now as a novelist. My first Book, FORTY-EIGHT X: The Lemuria Project was published by Medallion Press in December 2009. My second novel, SEEKING SINAI, is now available on Amazon.com and other online book sites.