Reinventing the Hollywood Biography

Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe by Robert Matzen

Stepping out of the B-17 Memphis Belle after a checkout flight in 2014.

Robert Matzen takes a different approach to the traditional Hollywood biography, in part using storytelling skills honed as a feature documentary filmmaker. In 2009 he teamed with Michael Mazzone to write Errol Flynn Slept Here, a book about Hollywood legend Errol Flynn that revealed the subject through an examination of the house he built. The following year, Matzen released Errol & Olivia about Flynn and long-time co-star Olivia de Havilland, in which each character’s perspective on the other tells their unusual love story.  His 2014 award-winning bestseller Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 surprised reviewers with its unusual take on the life and death of screwball actress Carole Lombard.

Now Matzen presents Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, revealing bomber pilot Stewart as the real-life action hero in the story (hidden for 70 years) of what he did in World War II prior to returning home to star in the beloved It’s a Wonderful Life. In Mission, the author recreates the world of the actor-turned-soldier as seen through the eyes of Stewart himself as well as a young B-24 radioman, a German civilian, and the general of German fighters whose job it was to bring down Allied bombers under Stewart’s command. As the GoodKnight Books publicity materials state, “Meet the George Bailey you never knew, until now.”

To experience the reinvented Hollywood biography, explore Robert’s books and follow his blog.

Robert’s Matzen’s works are published by GoodKnight Books, a boutique publisher of high quality titles about Hollywood’s Golden Era.


Robert has written feature articles and movie retrospectives and reviews for a variety of publications. His national bylines include commentary on the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on, and an essay about Jimmy Stewart’s frame of mind while making It’s a Wonderful Life in the Wall Street Journal.


Robert Matzen has presented before audiences ranging in size from 12 to 1,200 and is available to speak before your organization about topics related to U.S. history and classic Hollywood. Contact Marina Gray at GoodKnight Books for more information.

Media Interviews

Below are samples of the 50-plus interviews Matzen conducted with the media about his books Fireball and Mission. podcast – April 7, 2017 (Mission) podcast – Feb. 22, 2017 (Fireball)

KNPR Las Vegas feature interview – Jan. 23, 2017 (Fireball)

DVD Classic Corner with Dick Dinman feature interview for – January 3, 2017 (Mission) podcast – Dec. 19, 2016 (Mission)

Tulsa World newspaper feature – Dec. 19, 2016 (Mission)

Glenn Beck Radio Program – Dec. 15, 2016 (Mission)

Chicago Tribune newspaper feature – Dec. 2, 2016 (Mission)

KD/PG Sunday Edition on CBS Pittsburgh television – Nov. 28, 2016 (Mission)