When I Knew Al


The Story of Al Pacino and Ed De Leo











BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD, Bestselling Author (20 novels including A Woman of Substance, Voices of the Heart, Emma’s Secret, Unexpected Blessings.-- ."When I Knew Al is unique and compelling.  This book is not just about the well-known Al Pacino and the unknown Ed De Leo, but about the same world that nourished one and destroyed the other.  One actually sought his own nourishment while the other destroyed himself.” 


KEN KRAGEN, Film and Television Producer ("The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," "The Gambler," etc.), Event Organizer ("We Are The World" and "Hands Across America"), personal manager (Kenny Rogers, Lionel Ritchie, Olivia Newton-John, Burt Reynolds, etc.) and Author of Life Is a Contact Sport"). --  “When I Knew Al  is "a  fascinating look at two distinctly different outcomes on the same original career path.  Unfortunately those actors who achieve the success of a Pacino are a very small and select     group while the De Leo’s are far more prevalent in this profession. David Sheldon &  Joan McCall lead us wonderfully through the triumphs and troubles of both men in a way that is revealing and entertaining.  It's a book you'll find hard to put down." 

RAYNOLD GIDEON, Screenwriter and Producer (“Starman,” “Jungle 2 Jungle,” “Stand By Me,” “Made in Heaven,” A Man, a Woman and a Bank”). – “This is a must read.  “When I Knew Al” takes the reader on a roller coaster saga through New York’s theater world, Hollywood’s movie world all the while making us intimate witnesses to the life of a great actor and movie superstar.  Some of Ed De Leo’s experiences are hilariously funny.”  


 KELLY LANGE,  Mystery Writer, author of “Graveyard Shift,” “Dead File”, “The Reporter”, “Gossip”, and “Trophy Wife”, and former television news anchor-reporter for NBC-4, Los Angeles.
-- "Al Pacino is one of America's greatest actors.  Edward De Leo, I had never heard of.  Through the alchemy of a dual biography, David Sheldon and Joan McCall admit us to a hidden world of struggle where actors have to make choices -- a world populated by agents, producers, coaches, press agents, critics, and competing actors; a world filled with glamour, disappointment, delay, success, failure, acceptance, rejection, and the need to survive.  It's an exciting read.


JAMES G. HIRSCH,  Writer, Executive Producer (“The Incredible Hulk,” “Rome,” “The Blue Knight,” “Nash Bridges,” “Hart to Hart”).  -- “The book is a page-turner in which the reader feels the reality of the worlds of Broadway and Hollywood.  My wife refused to be told how the book ends until she finished reading it herself.  Why?  Because she knew that Al Pacino was a superstar, but wanted to find out for herself what happens to Edward De Leo and why.  So the book also works as a mystery.” 

 JOHN LIVESAY,  Author (“The 7 Most Powerful Selling Secrets"), motivational speaker, West Coast Advertising director for W magazine. --  “Acting is a profession that requires selling yourself with artistry.  This book shows how Al Pacino achieves superstar status while his mentor does not despite Pacino’s help.  An inside look at the internal demons that each man faces even with the rewards and challenges that success and failure bring each of them.” 

GARY QUINN, Bestselling Author (“May the Angels be With You” and “Living In The Spiritual Zone”),  Motivational Speaker, Psychic. “This book offers an in-depth behind the scenes account of Al Pacino and his friend Ed De Leo's struggling acting days, to the rise and fame of one man becoming a world wide superstar.  David Sheldon and Joan McCall present an easy to read book filled with the complexities, vulnerabilities, and ambitions of these men.  A true example of rational intelligence vs spiritual intelligence."  

RICHARD HERD,  Actor (“The China Syndrome” “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,”) “In these days of privilege, selfishness, greed and entitled movie stars, a book comes along about Al Pacino and his less fortunate childhood pal Ed De Leo.  Cheers to Al Pacino for reaching out to his friend and fellow actor.  A fine, moving piece of work.”  

VERNON ZIMMERMAN, Professor of Film Writing and Directing (USC School of Cinema and UCLA Extention, Screenwriter, Director, Filmmaker.  -- “Reading “When I Knew Al” is like eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation.  Sheldon and McCall take many of the trade secrets that separate the stars from the wannabes and illustrate them in an enjoyable, easy-to-read narrative of two actors who start out together, one who succeeds and one who fails.  It’s a blueprint for success without hitting you over the head with formulas.  It’s a movie!”  

TODD SUSMAN, Broadway, Film, Television actor (“Hair Spray,” “Blast From the Past,” “Star Spangled Girl,” “Law & Order”). “This is an accomplished and well-written biography (and autobiography), meticulously researched, and entertainingly presented.  Authors David Sheldon and Joan McCall along with Edward De Leo, have spent their lives in the theatre as well as in motion pictures and television and they write with deep conviction.”  

LYMAN WARD, Actor, Writer, Director(“Independence Day,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “JAG,” “The Taking of Beverly Hills”).  --  “When I Knew Al is a masterful insight into the life of the famous actor and his long time friend and early mentor, Ed De Leo.  David Sheldon and Joan McCall have woven these bittersweet biographies into an exciting read for Pacino fans and for anyone curious about the joys and heartbreaks of the acting profession.”  

MEL NOVAK,  Actor (“Power Elite,” “Game of Death,” “Lovely But Deadly,” “The Ultimate Warrior”).—“David Sheldon and Joan McCall offer discerning eyes for peering into the lives of two actors from their finding their callings to their taking different paths to achieve them.  One puts the blinders on and pursues his goal with a vengeance while the other carries with him the consciousness of a loser and stumbles along the way.”  

JESSICA OVERWISE, Hollywood Casting Director of numerous motion pictures, television movies and television series; has cast many actors including Goldie Hahn, Albert Brooks, Armand Assante, Eileen Brennan, Craig T. Nelson and Dennis Hopper in films such as “Private Benjamin” and “Lovely But Deadly.” --  “In ‘When I Knew Al,’ David Sheldon & Joan McCall show how life is like the career of an actor.  You can become a star or you can fade into oblivion.  The book can help young actors realize what it takes to become successful in their careers and avoid the pitfalls." 

JACK BRADFORD LPM AFA, columnist & author (The Hollywood Reporter, “The Rambling Reporter;” Market Watch). --   “This book should be read by everyone, not just Al Pacino fans.  It dispels the idea that success is a matter of chance.  Al Pacino obviously worked hard to get where he is today, constantly growing.  The parallel biography of actor-coach Ed De Leo is told with great vitality and understanding of the world of Broadway and Hollywood.  I can think of no other book quite like it.”  “This biography of Al Pacino through the eyes of Ed De Leo is both an absorbing narrative and an acute assessment of Pacino and his impact on the movie-going public.  I knew De Leo personally.  David Sheldon and Joan McCall skillfully capture his lifelong struggle.”   


HARVEY FLAXMAN, professor of theater and film, Fairleigh Dickinson University, motion picture producer, director, screenwriter (“Grizzly”). -- This biography of Al Pacino through the eyes of Ed De Leo is both an absorbing narrative and an acute assessment of Pacino and his impact on the movie-going public.  I knew De Leo personally.  David Sheldon and Joan McCall skillfully capture his lifelong struggle.”      


VEE GENTILE, former student of Ed De Leo and actor in "Two Bits," "Gettysburg").     "As David Sheldon and Joan McCall point out in “When I Knew Al,”  Ed De Leo entered Al Pacino’s life when Al was at an early crossroads bordering on success or failure.  I studied acting with Ed.  He took great pleasure in his student's successes in the industry, more so than his own.   He was a natural born teacher.  I remember his giving  his students stage names.  He believed their birth names might cause them to be typecast.  He gave me the name V. Alec Zanda.   For the longest time, because of his Bronx accent, I didn't realize he was actually saying "Vee Alexander."