FORMER Hollywood gossip journalist Roger Asquith is hoping his own name will be in the spotlight as producers look to create a TV series based on his latest novel.
Cuban Trader tells the true story of Roger’s time aboard a ship during the Castro and Batista revolution in the 1950s.
It charts the occupation of the Bacardi refinery in Santiago de Cuba where the Cuban Trader loaaded with hot molasses and transport to a refinery in Philadelphia.
The Cuban refinery and all Bacardi’s assets were confiscated by Castro.
With dictator Fidel Castro now increasingly frail, Roger thinks there is no better time to lift the lid on the events of that dangerous era. His book, released earlier this year, is already being tipped as a possible TV series in the making.
Producers in London and Germany have been meeting with Roger and eyeing up potential filming locations.
“It has been a busy time for us,” said Roger. “The reaction I have had has been brilliant so far.
“My man in America who is promoting the book is now in London talking to film producers. They have also been over to Berlin and Hamburg.”
Roger spend a lifetime working in Hollywood reporting on the greats of showbusiness such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Mae West and Angela Lansbury. He has written another booked called That’s Hollywood, which is based on his many years in Tinseltown.
But his latest novel reveals another chapter of his life when he was known as ‘Sparks’ aboard the ship that has inspired the work.
The book also charts the time when Roger was captured and jailed. “I was thrown into jail in Santiago de Cuba for five years and I witnessed the execution of fellow prisoners.”
Roger, now in his eighties, retired to Kingsholm, not far from his home of Prestbury, near Cheltenham.
After two years in the Royal Air Force, Roger obtained his radio license and sailed off, serving for 12 years as radio officer on British, Australian, Swedish and Canadian vessels – and ultimately the Liberian tanker known as Cuban Trader.
Roger eventually swallowed the anchor and gave up his adventures on the high seas, instead turning to the world of showbusiness. He moved to Los Angeles where he founded the Hollywood News Service and the Movie Classics magazine.