2012 Archives

Jan


2011 Archives

Jan | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2010 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2009 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2008 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2007 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2006 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2005 Archives

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2004 Archives

Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


2002 Archives

Jan | Jul | Oct

Jack Drury dishes with book on famous pals
By Liz Doup   - 04/07/2008

The Sun-Sentinel

More Info on This Book: Fort Lauderdale: Playground of the Stars

Photos of show-biz legends Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Buffalo Bob Smith line the bookshelves of Jack Drury's Fort Lauderdale office. A Howdy Doody doll rests on a chair outside his door.

"I'd sit and look at all of this and think, 'Shut up and write the book,'" Drury says. And so he did.

The just-released Fort Lauderdale Playground of the Stars (Arcadia Publishing, $19.99) is a pictorial peek at celebs who flocked to Fort Lauderdale decades ago, when it was a sleepy little beach town offering sun, fun and privacy in those pre-paparazzi days.

Their tour guide and confidant: Drury, now 77 and silver-haired, a legendary advertising and public relations man who cultivated celebrity pals over the decades.

He'll tell a few stories about his celebrity chums when he speaks at a Fort Lauderdale Historical Society benefit April 13.

Drury was Buffalo Bob Smith's manager. He had a stint as tennis great Billie Jean King's agent. He was Johnny Carson's friend.

For decades, he documented his star-studded life with photographs snapped at promotional events. The book is mainly photos showcasing 60-plus celebs in 187 pictures, primarily from the '60s through the '80s.

"I had all these pictures, and people tired of my celebrity stories kept saying I should do a book," Drury says. "It was time."

Taking Drury's trip down Memory Lane is a poignant, pleasant stroll. His book is no tell-all tome. It's a tribute to stars, most no longer alive.

Drury didn't stay friends with Carson and Hope by spreading stories.

"If I'd have had a cocktail party and invited 20 people to meet Johnny Carson, that friendship would have been over," he says. "Johnny didn't like to feel he was being used."

Three years after Carson's death, Drury's only unseemly tidbit is already a well-documented story: That Carson got nasty when he drank. But Drury can add this: His role was to tactfully call it a night at the Mai-Kai, where Carson loved to wine and dine.

Drury, a New York PR man, found his way to Fort Lauderdale in 1960, when he was transferred to work with a client, Gill Hotels, owner of the Yankee Clipper, the Trade Winds and other beachfront hotels.

Two years later, after Drury opened his own business, he lured Carson's team to Fort Lauderdale to plan the new Tonight Show. At the time, Carson was a TV game-show host, prepping to replace Jack Paar.

Drury arranged for hotel rooms, a 60-foot boat and steered them to the best restaurants. And thus began a decades-long friendship with the famously private star.

In 1964, when Drury suggested that Carson invest in buggy northwest Broward land, Carson's reaction: "You've been drinking."

But Carson trusted Drury and bought 60 acres that were part of a new Broward city: Coral Springs. Carson sold the land eight years later at a hefty profit, according to the book.

"A pretty good investment," Drury says.

When Drury dips into the past, his stories flow like a river.

Did you know ...

He spent a night with Jayne Mansfield and her husband, Mickey Hargitay, all wearing nothing but wet bathing suits, stranded on an island near Nassau after their boat drifted away in a storm.

Did you know ...

He became Billie Jean King's agent in 1971 after playing with her in a Fort Lauderdale pro-am tournament and was by her side during the historic "Battle of the Sexes" match with Bobby Riggs in 1973.

Did you know ...

He was good buddies with Fort Lauderdale resident and TV icon Buffalo Bob Smith, of Howdy Doody fame, and helped get his show (taped in North Miami) back on TV in the '70s.

Did you know ...

He was Bob Hope's golfing pal and, after Hope taped his 1987 Christmas special in Fort Lauderdale, the duo played at Coral Ridge Country Club.

No, you probably didn't know ... unless you read Drury's book.

"Fort Lauderdale has grown and changed so much," he says. "I wanted to let people know about the stars who worked and played here."

Buy It Now: Fort Lauderdale: Playground of the Stars $21.99




Find Books By Title:

Find Books By Theme:

Find Books By State: