About Arnie Wilson
Although Arnie Wilson comes from an artistic background (his father, Bernard, was a composer who met his wife Joan, a concert pianist, at London’s Wigmore Hall where they were both featured in a concert) he has inherited few of their talents. ‘I failed to learn the French horn, my favourite instrument, but did manage to play the flute in the Canterbury Youth Orchestra for a while,’ he says. It was as a journalist rather than as a flautist that Wilson made his mark. He spent 15 years in television – on screen for 10 of them – and several years in Fleet Street, before becoming the Financial Times ski correspondent and skiing every day of the year in 1994 (thus entering the Guinness Book of Records). He also wrote regularly for the FT, occasionally interviewing celebrities for the paper’s ‘Lunch With The FT’ feature. In 2001 he became editor of Ski+board, the Ski Club of Great Britain’s magazine. Wilson, who has four skiing daughters from his first marriage, is the author of several books, but this is the first that is not about skiing. He and his Swedish wife, Vivianne – who were married on the mountain at Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2000 – live in West Sussex, England.
About Big Name Hunting
Arnie Wilson started hunting down ‘big names’ after being hired by a news agency to telephone titled people and charm them into divulging stories he would sell to Fleet Street gossip columns. But the ‘celebrity’ landscape was changing. Instead of targeting lords, baronets knights and their ladies, he was determined instead to find ‘real’ celebrities, persuading them with a combination of cheek, charm and chutzpah to divulge funny and intimate anecdotes for publication. Ten years as an ITV on-screen news reporter reinforced his skill at putting interviewees at their ease, and he started working on many of the columns he had once himself supplied with tales of the famous. Even during 15 years as the Financial Times ski correspondent he kept the gossip tap turned on, interviewing Hollywood stars on the slopes. He chatted to (and sometimes skied with) film stars, rock stars, astronauts, comedians, authors, government ministers, former prime ministers and the odd American president. Although celebrities today are two a penny, he’s still at it, chatting to anyone famous he can find.
What people say about Big Name Hunting
What a wonderful evocation of the old Fleet Street and the rumbustuous lives of the society scribblers. A splendid lesson of how stories come to be published in newspaper diaries; a book brimming with humour and packed with the juiciest of celebrity anecdotes. A lovely, lovely journalistic memoir by a true master of his trade. – Adam Helliker
A funny and insightful memoir of former newshound and diarist Arnie Wilson in the days preceding the so called celebrity culture of Big Brother, X factor and ther Jesmonds. Though a fundamentally sensitive soul, Wilson developed the chutzpah necessary to disarm and engage a worthy list of high flyers and big hitters, and the subsequent revelations will reward the reader with a journey that moves from hilarious to poignant and many many shades between. A personal favourite was when the author worked on the Daily Star and asked Noel Coward for a quote as he rushed from a theatre. “Twinkle”, said the departing great man. – Jeremy Ashpool
I really loved this book. It is a wonderful humorous and behind-the-scenes peep into the world of Fleet Street gossip columnists and the celebrities on whom they feed. The title is wonderfully apt, and Wilson writes both with great authority, and with a delightful, charming, witty and wry style. The book was in my Christmas stocking. I only intended to take look at the first couple of pages before saving it as a treat for the long dark nights ahead, but once I started I could not stop, and devoured it in two sittings, ignoring my family for most of Boxing Day! – Thomas Vale
A truly interesting peep into the world of celebrity. It’s written with kindness, integrity and humour about the stars and celebrities that this obviously talented journalist has met over the years. There are anecdotes and insights rarely found in today’s media diarist offerings and with an easy conversational style as if the author is there with you telling you of his rip-roaring journalistic encounters. This is a good read for people who view with fascination the stars and celebs of today and yesteryear. – P.Aldaya
This book is an excellent stroll down memory lane bringing back loads of memories. So many of the charactors I grew up in my youth, a suprising number of which still remain in the limelight and they have all been hunted down for me by Arnie Wilson. Well bagged! If you want to reminisce, there is no better way than to pick up a copy of this book. A really enjoyable read. – Oliver Ensor
A very entertaining book! – JP Daly