Under the pseudonym of Jozef Rothstein, one-time wannabe LA actor Gene Duffy has compiled a comical look at his dogged pursuit of the Hollywood dream, funded by years of day-job toiling at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Studio City. For the book’s title, Duffy chose an expression he liked to use with co-workers when describing the daily pastrami-and-rye-clatter routine: As the Matzo Ball Turns.
Duffy is now safely back in his native Pennsylvania and due for his next book signing June 16. Speaking recently with the same local reporter who wrote about him when he headed west in the late 1990s, Duffy highlighted some friendly celeb customers (Adam Sandler, Shaquille O’Neal…) and not-so-great famous folks (Sharon Stone…). He also suggested that beyond the hundreds of auditions, he got a taste of another staple of the Tinseltown trample:
“From 2002 to 2010, I wrote five screenplays… I wrote one about football because that’s what I knew. But someone in the business told me there were too many football stories that I should use a different sport. So I wrote a hockey drama and shopped it around. The next time I saw it, it was on the screen without my name.”