Thoughts on Hyho


(Former bureau chief of Variety‘s Sydney office, Don Groves spent several years in the publication’s London office covering the international film business. He resides in Sydney.)

I met Hyho soon after I joined Variety in 1981, succeeding the esteemed Miha (Mike Harris) as Sydney bureau chief, and quickly came to regard him as a friend, valued colleague and mentor.

I knew little about Hollywood and the international film business: by contrast, Hy seemed to know everything and everybody of consequence! For a new kid on the block, Hy was incredibly generous in sharing his industry contacts, his vast knowledge and a fund of stories going back to his years with Paramount in the 1960s.

Strolling the halls of the American Film Market with Hy was like walking down the Croisette in Cannes with Roger Watkins: everyone knew and liked him, wanted to chat, impart or share information.

When I was asked to write a weekly report on the international box office for the weekly, in 1988 as I recall, when I was based in London, Hy was among the first people I contacted. He knew all the relevant people at the foreign divisions of the majors and at the indie sales companies and distributors.

My foreign box office duties soon expanded to include weekend reports for Tuesday’s Daily, followed by weekend estimates for Monday’s Daily. Hy was on tap any time I needed a contact or assistance in launching those new columns. Of all the guys I had the pleasure of working with at Variety, none was more respected, appreciated and admired than Hy.

There were plenty of temperamental types among the muggs, but I don’t ever recall Hy getting mad or even exasperated with his colleagues – maybe the odd uncooperative or over-pushy publicist pissed him off, but that was an occupational hazard for all of us.

Hy: I wish you the very best in your retirement after such a long and distinguished career. You taught me heaps; I owe you a lot.