James Toback is an American screenplay writer and film director who made his debut in Hollywood in the ’70s. His screenplay for the film Bugsy got him an award for the best original screenplay in 1991. He is also known for directing several films including Two Girls and a Guy, Black and White and The Pick-up Artist He is also notorious for numerous allegations of sexual abuse from women; in fact, his whole career was plagued by these controversies which he has consistently denied.
James Toback’s Bio
He was born on November 23, 1944, to affluent Jewish parents in Manhattan, New York City. Toback’s father, Irwin Lionel Toback worked as a stockbroker and served as the ex-vice president of Dreyfus & Company, a global merchant firm while his mother, Selma Judith, headed the League of Women Voters and moderated political debates for NBC.
He attended the Fieldston School and graduated in 1966 from Harvard College. While in college, he is said to have taken an overdose of LSD and was under the influence for eight days till he was roused by an antidote given by neuropsychiatrist Max Rinkel, since then he claims to have lost any fear for death.
James worked as a journalist after graduation and was opportuned to interview football player, Jim Brown. The assignment led to him living with Jim for a few years. They claim to have been involved in orgies with several women together during his stay, but he grew tired of the lifestyle and decided to have a movie career.
He wrote a memoir on Jim and his stay with him titled Jim in 1972; he also taught creative writing to students at the City College of New York in the early 1970s. He wrote his first screenplay, The Gambler, in 1974, it was a crime-drama film. He made his directorial debut in 1978 with Fingers, he made his on-screen debut in Exposed where he played the role of Leo Boscovith. His big break was Bugsy, he wrote the screenplay of the film and it was nominated for 10 academy awards.
James Toback estimated net worth is of $10 million which he accumulated for writing screenplays and books, directing and teaching creative Writing. Most of his films are low budget films; Harvard Guy, in particular, was made with $5.5 million and only made a few thousand dollars at the box office.
Is James Toback Married? Wife
James Toback’s first marriage to Consuelo Sarah Churchill, the granddaughter of John Spencer Churchill Vanderbilt Russell, the tenth Duke of Marlborough and cousin to Winston Churchill lasted a year (1968-1969). The reasons for their divorce is still unknown.
However, he found love again in Stephanie Toback Kempf and they got married – a marriage which has produced a son named Andre. James has worked with Stephanie over the years. She edited the 1989 film “The Big Bang’’ written and directed by James Toback. Stephanie is a private person and there is no information on her age, she is not even active on social media, however, she is reported to be the daughter of Greg Kempf, a onetime real estate agent and developer and Edwina Kempf. She was raised Catholic alongside her nine siblings.
Allegations and Controversies
According to the New York Times, James Toback was accused by five women of offenses ranging from misdemeanor, to indecent exposure to felony and sexual battery; he was alleged to have committed these offenses around 1978 and 2008.
He was allegedly reported to have masturbated on women’s legs, pressed one woman against the wall and requested for sex, ordered a woman to masturbate and pressed the chest and backside of another woman while trying to kiss her. His accusers include Julianne Moore, Caterina Scorsone, Terri Conn, Selma Blair, Rachel McAdams, and musician Louise Post.
It was reported by Los Angeles Times in October 2017 that 38 women have accused him of sexual assault which he denied, also in January 2018, the newspaper house said that an additional 395 women reached out to them that James sexually assaulted them.
Spy Magazine published an article in a 1989 issue that gave a vivid and detailed description of how Toback lurked the streets of New York City looking for women he could victimize. He was said to use his Directors Guild of America membership card to lure the unsuspecting women to a meeting to talk about appearing in his films.
However, he was not prosecuted because the cases were beyond the statute of limitations. He also openly denied the allegation and said for the past 22 years it has been biologically impossible for him to engage in the alleged offenses because he has been on medication due to diabetes and a heart condition.