Authors Night in the Hamptons and Guest at Lovely Dinner to Talk about Masters of Sex
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Hard as it is to believe, Thomas Maier says that being the author of the 2009 best seller Masters of Sex: The Life & Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love, which details the explosive but sad lives of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson and is the basis for the Emmy-nominated TV series on Showtime that began its second season in mid-July, hasn’t changed his life much. He’s still an investigative reporter—now in his 31st year at Newsday—and proud of it. He admits to one material change in circumstances: Instead of writing his books in his unheated basement in East Northport, he now works in a heated bedroom upstairs.
Masters of Sex grew out of the profile he was drafted to write for Newsday the day William Masters retired. Both researchers were very secretive at the time, but when Masters died in 2001, he went back to Johnson and “won her confidence,” partly by sending her a copy of his 1998 book, Dr. Spock: An American Life. “She knew Jane Spock,” Maier says, adding “once she started talking, she was a chatterbox.”
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Pleased as he is with the TV show—whose pilot was partially filmed on Long Island, including the mansion in Sands Point Preserve once owned by industrialist Daniel Guggenheim—Maier is on to new things. He says that Sony bought the rights to his 1994 book, Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power & Glory of America’s Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It, and he hopes that will become a scripted TV series, too. And his next book, When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys, an examination of the deep personal and public links between the two families, is set to be published in October. “There will be real news in that,” Maier says, refusing to provide even a clue now. “There are 1,700 footnotes.”
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