THE DON

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Description

THE DON is a docu-drama on the life of the producer of TOP GUN, Don Simpson, which uses narration, clips, and fictional re-enactments via “lost tapes'' to take you behind the scenes into Hollywood’s decade of decadence, the 1980s. Before the era of MeToo, there was Don Simpson the poster boy of toxic masculinity, whose outlandish behavior was not only tolerated but encouraged by the film industry who profited greatly off Don’s movies. Don Simpson was, like the character he named after himself in his movie TOP GUN, a maverick. His signature style of filmmaking created one hit after another— AMERICAN GIGOLO, FLASHDANCE, BEVERLY HILLS COP, TOP GUN- they all came from the mind of Don Simpson. Don loved the movies so much that he created a mythological persona known as “The Don” to match his signature movies— loud, ballsy, cheesy— his movies were full of homo-erotic testoterone-driven race car drivers and navy fighter pilots and stripper/welders who wanted to be ballerinas— these were the movies from Don’s absurd fantasy world— this was the world that Don actually lived in— there was no separation between life and art. And that movie persona that he created— “The Don”— grew more and more outrageous and more extreme— until ultimately… it killed him.

Episode Date
Top Gun- Don and Tom Part 3
1469
In this episode, we go deep into the production of “Top Gun”. We learn of how Don’s insistence on throwing parties for the cast helped to fuel the rivalry between Maverick and Ice Man... The partying also would lead to Don’s stint in rehab- smack in the middle of the most important production of his career... We go into Don’s frustrations over the lack of chemistry between Maverick and Charlie... And his battles with the Navy over script notes, and how a fatal real life plane crash during filming was eerily similar to the crash written into the movie.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 30, 2022
Top Gun--Don and Tom Part 2
1451
In this episode, we look into Don’s paternal relationship with Tom Cruise, how Don nearly sabotaged the Top Gun screenwriters efforts to produce a script good enough for Tom, and how Don’s last ditch effort to put Tom in the air with “The Blue Angels” got Tom to finally say yes.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 22, 2022
Top Gun- Don and Tom
1751
The first of three episodes devoted to the Top Gun partnership of Don and Tom Cruise.   In this episode, we track the origins of Top Gun... How MTV videos of bands singing about nuclear war shaped Don’s vision to make a cold war movie. We go behind the scenes of Don’s big pitch at the Pentagon to convince the Navy to give Don their $14 million jets... And we learn of how the pressure to make a third blockbuster movie in a row contributed to Don’s coke addiction which would make him so paranoid for his safety that he wouldn’t leave the house without a bodyguard.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 16, 2022
DON, SLY STALLONE AND EDDIE MURPHY
1445
THE DON Season 2: Maverick, Top Gun, Don’s Greatest Hits, And The Addictions That Killed Him”   In this episode, we learn just how close Sly Stallone came to starring in Beverly Hills Cop. We dive into Don's failure in trying to make Richard Pryor into a movie star. We look at his courtship of Eddie Murphy. And efforts to de-sexualize Eddie Murphy in order to make him a movie star. And why critics like Pauline Kael cried racial insensitivity after seeing the movie.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 09, 2022
TOP GUNS DON & TOM
1610
THE DON Season 2: Maverick, Top Gun, Don’s Greatest Hits, And The Addictions That Killed Him”   In this episode,  we track Don’s collision  course with Tom Cruise-- beginning with Tom’s role in "Endless Love" and the world’s obsession with Brooke Shields virginity, Tom's breakout performance in the military film "Taps", the sex comedy he did with Shelly Duvall from Cheers, and his love affair with Rebecca De Mornay in "Risky Business". This episode is all about Tom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 02, 2022
"DON GOES HOME TO ALASKA AND THE MAFIA COMES LOOKING FOR HIM"
1443
THE DON Season 2: Maverick, Top Gun, Don’s Greatest Hits, And The Addictions That Killed Him”   In Episode 3, we go into Don’s last days as a Paramount executive. His obession with making a third Godfather film puts him in direct conflict with the Vatican mob. Don’s partying gets him in trouble at the company retreat. And his producer on "Grease", Allan Carr,  goes all in on his epic Village People movie, “Can’t Stop the Music”… With Allen wallowing in despair over the colossal failure of Can't Stop The Music , there is nobody to help  Don on another runaway train wreck, Grease 2.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 02, 2022
DON'S GREATEST HITS AND THE ADDICTIONS THAT KILLED HIM
1452
Season 2 of "The Don" is a twelve episode double-order. We’re going all the way to the end... From Don’s greatest hits- Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Days of Thunder-- to his final days as a recluse hooked on pharmaceuticals holed up in his Bel Air mansion trying to make one last comeback in the film business.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 26, 2022
"MORE DON FANTASIES COME TRUE"
1738
THE DON Season 2: Maverick, Top Gun, Don’s Greatest Hits, And The Addictions That Killed Him”   Episode 2- “MORE DON FANTASIES COME TRUE”--  We look into Don’s influence on American Gigolo, Richard Gere’s infamous full frontal nude shot, Don’s relationship with fashion designer Gorgio Armani, Don’s invention of high concept, and teaming up with Warren Beatty to seek revenge against a powerful art house movie critic.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 26, 2022
THE DON Season 2
115
THE DON is a docu-drama on the life of the producer of TOP GUN, Don Simpson, which uses narration, clips, and fictional re-enactments via “lost tapes'' to take you behind the scenes into Hollywood’s decade of decadence, the 1980s. Before the era of MeToo, there was Don Simpson the poster boy of toxic masculinity, whose outlandish behavior was not only tolerated but encouraged by the film industry who profited greatly off Don’s movies. Don Simpson was, like the character he named after himself in his movie TOP GUN, a maverick. His signature style of filmmaking created one hit after another— AMERICAN GIGOLO, FLASHDANCE, BEVERLY HILLS COP, TOP GUN- they all came from the mind of Don Simpson. Don loved the movies so much that he created a mythological persona known as “The Don” to match his signature movies— loud, ballsy, cheesy— his movies were full of homo-erotic testoterone-driven race car drivers and navy fighter pilots and stripper/welders who wanted to be ballerinas— these were the movies from Don’s absurd fantasy world— this was the world that Don actually lived in— there was no separation between life and art. And that movie persona that he created— “The Don”— grew more and more outrageous and more extreme— until ultimately… it killed him. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 19, 2022
"Don Flies Too Close to the Sun"
1750
Pierce receives an invitation from Don’s former assistant, MIA, now a major producer, to move into Don’s house. It’s a thrill for Pierce to live in Don’s house- he had always wanted to see the great man's lair but Don had never invited him. While at Don’s house, Pierce is alerted to police cars down the street. They’re coming from Madame Cora’s house. Pierce sees that the woman he had encountered earlier seeking a job as a prostitute was actually an undercover cop. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 08, 2021
"A Tale of Two Simpsons"
1578
Pierce connects with an actress who had worked with Autumn Weston on the b-horror movie Leprechaun in which Jennifer Anniston starred in her first leading role. Here, Pierce learns that Autumn’s doctor- who had overprescribed her electric shock therapy— had attended many of Don’s parties. Pierce later connects with drug dealer Royce Newton who takes Pierce to a Laker game and later to a party at the team owner, Dr. Jerry Buss' estate. Royce has a falling out with Pierce after learning he tried to contact Autumn Weston and that he’s found little evidence to clear his name implicating his cocaine with Don’s death.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 01, 2021
The Belle de Jour of Beverly Hills
1690
Pierce is upset that John Gregory Dunne had penned Don’s obituary. We learn that Pierce and Don had a falling out and that Pierce knew little of Don’s dark days before his death. A tip from Robert Evans leads Pierce to Don’s madame- Madame Cora. Pierce learns that Don and the madame were close friends dating back to when they were both first starting out in Hollywood. Cora believes it’s no coincidence that the LAPD is staked outside her house just days after Don’s death.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 25, 2021
"Mobsters and Tennis"
1840
Pierce misses Don's funeral and mistakenly ends up at the funeral of fabled Hollywood lawyer and fixer Sidney Korshak. It’s there that he connects with the producer of Chinatown, The Godfather, and Rosemary’s Baby- Robert Evans. It was Don that took Evans’ old job at Paramount as President of Production. Back then Evans was in a rapid career spiral, while Don was the hottest executive in town. Evans invites Pierce to his house for a game of tennis and to talk about his relationship with Don. Pierce learns that Don and Evans shared the same Hollywood madam. He also learns that Evans had a connection with the actress Autumn Weston- who may or may not have been connected to Don’s death.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 18, 2021
"Don and Allan"
1729
Pierce was called to Los Angeles by Don’s former drug dealer, Royce Newton, just hours after Don’s death. Royce is concerned that it was his cocaine that killed Don and he wants Pierce to find out the truth as to what might have killed him. Pierce sneaks into Don’s estate looking for clues. His search leads him to Allan Carr’s house- the producer of "Grease”— Don was the executive on the film in his early days at Paramount. Here Pierce learns that Don was influenced by gay culture and that Don had boasted of a homosexual relationship. Pierce also learns that one of the extras in Don’s disasterous flop- Grease 2- was under the care of one of Don’s Dr. Feelgood physicans. Perhaps she might provide some clues into Don’s death. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 11, 2021
Don's Dead
1626
Episode One introduces Don Simpson, the producer behind such blockbuster hits as Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, and Top Gun. Don, like the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun- had a “need for speed.” Don lived a gonzo, high-octane life. By day he was a fast-talking Hollywood producer who knew how to sell a movie and get the greenlight. Many in the industry thought he was a creative genius— and that genius was validated with big box office successes. But all the success couldn’t keep him away from his demons. The show’s fictitious journalist Pierce Benton begins to investigate what might have caused Don’s tragic death. Pierce is the fawning, obsequious journalist Don might have wished he had while he was alive. Pierce is distraught to how Don died— with over $60,000 in pills in his bathroom. He concludes that someone else must have been complicit. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 11, 2021
Introducing: THE DON
120
The podcast series THE DON chronicles the wild anecdotes and escapes of Hollywood’s last great showman, Don Simpson, the producer who made such 80s classics as AMERICAN GIGOLO, FLASHDANCE, BEVERLY HILLS COP and TOP GUN. Don created a mythological persona known as “The Don” where in order to convince Hollywood to make his high-octane movies he had to live a high-octane lifestyle. But the lifestyle became all-consuming. His industry colleagues said that Don was so passionate about the movies that he was willing to die for them. And sadly, that’s what happened. “The Don” tells the epic, gonzo tale of one man’s obsession with his dream of making movies and how that dream led to his tragic downfall. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 03, 2021