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Joe Eszterhas      

Screenwriter; Cancer Survivor; Anti-Semitism & Anti-Smoking Activist

Called the "Che Guevara of screenwriters" (Variety), a "force of nature" (The New York Times), and "a living legend" (ABC's 20/20), Joe Eszterhas is one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood history. Over the past 35 years he has penned the scripts for such films as Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Music Box, and the cult classic Showgirls.

Despite his remarkable success as a screenwriter - his collection of films has grossed more than $1 billion at the box office - Eszterhas's life has had its struggles as well. Born in Hungary in 1944, he spent his first six years in Austrian refugee camps before emigrating to Cleveland with his family. A heavy smoker since the age of 12, he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001, and has worked since then to de-glamorize smoking in the movies. Along with the Cleveland Clinic, he founded Join Joe, a grassroots anti-smoking advocacy group. He also filmed a series of anti-smoking public service announcements which appeared in theaters and on television nationwide.

Eszterhas has also spent much of his life waging a war against anti-Semitism. He wrote about its evils in the films Betrayed and Music Box and, in 1990, the Justice Department investigated his father, Istvan, for alleged war crimes committed in Hungary during World War II. The investigation caused Eszterhas to break his relationship with his beloved father, a break that he discusses in his books “Hollywood Animal,” “Crossbearer,” and “Heaven and Mel.”

A powerful speaker who understands the art of weaving a truly fascinating story, Joe Eszterhas shares with audiences his personal journey from Hollywood hero to cancer survivor to anti-smoking activist to man of faith and warrior against anti-Semitism.


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Speech Topics

The Power of Storytelling

Brawling with Cancer

Betrayed: My Quest Against Anti-Semitism

Finding God (Or Being Found by Him)

The Rebel as Corporate Icon


'Basic Instinct' Scribe Joe Eszterhas Lined Up For London ...

LONDON – Joe Eszterhas, the scribe behind Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge and Betrayed, is to be this year's special guest speaker at the 2013 London ...

Joe Eszterhas: 'Mel Gibson needs help'

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Joe Eszterhas to headline Screenwriters festival

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Joe Eszterhas's Screenwriting Career | 10 Legacies of Flashdance ...

Before Flashdance, reporter-turned-screenwriter Eszterhas had completed one produced screenplay, for Sylvester Stallone's blue-collar drama F.I.S.T. With ...

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