A few weeks ago, Beth Amorosi stopped in Rye on her way back to the city to visit her sister, Trish Muccia; both are granddaughters of James B. Donovan, of “Bridge of Spies” fame.
By Tom McDermott
A few weeks ago, Beth Amorosi stopped in Rye on her way back to the city to visit her sister, Trish Muccia; both are granddaughters of James B. Donovan, of “Bridge of Spies” fame. She also came by the Rye Record office to drop off a newly reissued copy of their grandfather’s book, “Strangers on a Bridge,” on which the Steven Spielberg film is based.
Amorosi, who runs a public relations and marketing firm called Ammo, is a huge film buff who, after reading an announcement in The Hollywood Reporter a couple of years ago that Spielberg planned to make a film based on the book, pounced on the opportunity to have the book reissued. It took more than a year.
On August 4, Scribner (Simon & Schuster), which owned the original rights, published the book, in anticipation of the film’s premiere. Tom Hanks plays Donovan, the Brooklyn lawyer who agreed to defend the maligned Soviet spy Col. Rudolph Abel.
Trish and Beth’s mother, Jan Amorosi, is portrayed by Eve Hewson. She told the paper that Steven Spielberg’s story stayed mostly true to the book. Of Spielberg himself, she said, “He was a lovely person. He seemed very fond of my father, and arranged a private screening for the family and a breakfast the next morning.”
And was she really sitting by the TV with her siblings when her exhausted father returned from Berlin where he arranged a trade for Francis Gary Powers and a stranded U.S. grad student? “Actually, I was in college, near Washington, and had seen my father before he went home, because he went to see President Kennedy. But he really was worn out.”
Trish and her family moved to Rye three years ago. While she never met her grandfather, who died at 53 in 1970, she feels that she got to know him through her mother, uncle, and grandmother talking about him over the years. Seeing Hanks portray him, she “felt like I was hearing his voice.” She thinks that Amy Ryan did a great job playing her grandmother.
And how is the book doing? It has sold over 35,000 copies this time around, with another printing in the works, which pleases Beth and the entire family. “My grandfather was a substantial man, very well-rounded; he became President of Pratt Institute and ran for the U.S. Senate.” She is gratified that Hanks clearly read the book and “got Donovan’s personable manner very right.”