Presides over the PEN International Congress meeting in New York, 12-18 January, attended by over a thousand writers from around the world. Mailer, who raises the bulk of the money to support the Congress, is criticized for inviting Secretary of State George P. Shultz to speak without consulting the board of PEN.

Mailer, Muhammad Ali, Lannie Ali (1986)

In the same month, “Strawhead,” a play adapted from Of Women and Their Elegance, is staged by the Actors Studio in New York with Kate Mailer as Marilyn Monroe.

From 14 October to 13 December, in Provincetown, he directs his own film script based on Tough Guys Don’t Dance. It is produced for Cannon Films by Tom Luddy.

Norman Mailer (1986)

in Days | 109 Words


“Mailer: The Avenger and the Bitch.” Article-interview by Martin Amis. In The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America, by Martin Amis, 57-73. London: Jonathan Cape; New York: Viking, 1987. The English edition appeared in 1986. Amis’s chapter on Mailer (which contains excerpts from two conversations he had with him), consists of three short pieces from the (London) Observer (1981, 1982, 1985) cobbled together. Valuable for its representative British combination of indignation and awe in the face of genuine American phenomena.


Comments at the National Arts Club Award dinner for Allen Ginsberg, 22 February 1979. Introduced and excerpted by Victor Bockris. In Best Minds: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan and Bob Rosenthal, 28-29, 184. New York: Lospecchio Press. Rpt: The comments of Mailer and the other speakers at the dinner are excerpted from a transcript of the evening’s proceedings, later assembled in a booklet, with a preface by Bockris, titled A Buddhist Apocalypse Banquet with Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, William Burroughs, John Ashbery and Ted Berrigan. Photographs by Marcia Resnik. No date, no publisher.


“Mailer Ebullient About His Movie.” Article-interview by Bonnie Barber. Provincetown Advocate, 25 December, 1, 30. Mailer explained that the novel, Tough Guys Don’t Dance was partly about Provincetown: “The movie’s not. The movie could have been shot somewhere else. We would’ve lost a lot of things. We would’ve lost the beauty of Provincetown, but we wouldn’t have lost the essential story.”


“Mailer’s Stamp on the Movies.” Article-interview by Joseph Gelmis. Providence Sunday Journal, 21 December, Sec. I, p. 3. Mailer tells Gelmis that if the movie version of 84.17 is a success, he’d like to make more films. Quotes from Ryan O’Neal and other members of the cast are included. See 1986 and 1987 entries.


“Ryan O’Neal: God Guy, Bad Guy?” Article-interview by Bonnie Barber. Provincetown Advocate, 18 December, 3, 30. Both Mailer and O’Neal are quoted in this piece about the making of Tough Guys Don’t Dance in Provincetown. Mailer praised O’Neal, saying “I don’t know if there’s another movie star who works that hard.” O’Neal said he enjoyed working on the film, and praised Mailer’s boxing abilities: “He moves, he has combinations. He blackened my eyes.”


“Mailer Makes a Movie.” Article-interview by Constance Gorfinkle. (Quincy, Mass.) Patriot-Ledger, 16 December, 21-22. On the Provincetown set of Tough Guys Don’t Dance near the final day (13 December) of shooting, Mailer talks about the play he was almost in at Harvard, his longtime affiliation with Actors’ Studio and, again, speaks comparatively of writing novels and directing films. See 84.17, 1986 and 1987 entries.


“At the Movies.” Article-interview by Nina Darnton. New York Times, 12 December, Sec. C, p. 10. Very brief piece on the filming of 84.17 containing one fine quote from Mailer: “When I write a novel I try not to think of a plot—I am much more concerned with character. But in a movie the plot is the motor, it is essential. It took me two months to write the novel. The screenplay took six months.” See 1986 and 1987 entries.


“Movie Beats Writing.” Article-interview by Tim Miller. Cape Cod Times, 5 December, 1, 15. Mailer again compares writing and filmmaking in this piece, which also reports that Mailer’s Commercial Street home was used as Tim Madden’s home in the film version of 84.17. See 1986 and 1987 entries.


“People: Tough Guys Do Make Movies: Mailer in Provincetown.” Article-interview by G.D.G. Time, 1 December, 58-59. Brief piece, with a few quotes from Mailer, which reveals the budget for the film version of 84.17 to be $5 million, and the shooting schedule to be seven weeks. See 1986 and 1987 entries.