INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A marvelous and compulsively readable collection of stories from the life of Salah Bachir — philanthropist, art collector, movie industry insider — who, through his sheer joy of life, art, giving back, and human interaction, has endeared him to some of the most famous and creative people in recent times.
Salah Bachir’s encounters with stars who have passed through his beloved Toronto over the years opens on a backyard garden barbecue with Marlon Brando, and bread continues to be broken with icons as fascinating and seemingly disparate as Muhammad Ali and Liberace, Margaret Atwood and Cesar Chavez, Andy Warhol and Princess Margaret, to name just a few. But the true literary coup is that the biggest, brightest star we encounter is the author himself.
Salah is the patron saint for all of us who are full of curiosity, hungry for celebration, horny for fun, and who won’t stop until every need is fulfilled. His appetite and passion for life is voracious. His ability to transform those passions into making life better for others is even more impressive.
Salah Bachir, who immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the 1960s, has been a gay activist who has worked in the film world for over four decades. While this has given him undeniable front-row access to Hollywood’s biggest stars, it is Salah’s personal charm and kindness, his philanthropy, his overall style (think hats, scarves, brooches, pearls, diamonds) and deep involvement in the art world that has made him a friend, companion, confidante, and/or lover to so many — including Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Joan Rivers, Mary Tyler Moore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Edward Albee, Orson Welles, Aretha Franklin, Norman Jewison, and Elizabeth Taylor — although it’s true that Katharine Hepburn once turned him down, very nicely.
Collected here in this wonderful book are personal stories of them all — some short, some long, some surprising, others juicy, and all fascinating. Through them we get to know Salah, a larger-than-life character that embodies the many worlds he shapes — the kind of person it would be hard to make up if he didn’t already exist.
About the authors
SALAH BACHIR (He/Him) is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, magazine publisher, and patron of the arts. He is both a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. He was the fourth Chancellor of Toronto's OCAD University, one of the pre-eminent schools of art, design and digital media. He has been awarded 5 honorary doctorates. He lives with his husband the artist Jacob Yerex in Paris, Ontario, and Toronto, when he is not tending to his olive groves in Lebanon.
INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
"Sweetly and directly, Salah recounts his amazing life, entwined with so many amazing lives. I'm honoured to be included! (And happy that Marlon Brando comes out of it well!)"
"‘The glamorous Salah Bachir has led an extraordinary life, as evidenced by his memoir—always championing important causes for countless individuals and charities close to his heart. His drive and actions have made the world a better place." —Kim Cattrall
"Salah Bachir's encounters with stars over the years opens on a backyard garden barbecue with Marlon Brando, and bread continues to be broken with icons as fascinating and seemingly disparate as Muhammad Ali and Liberace, Margaret Atwood and Cesar Chavez, Andy Warhol and Princess Margaret, to name just a few. But the true literary coup is that the biggest, brightest star we encounter is the author himself." —Alan CummIng
"Salah is the patron saint for all of us who are full of curiosity, hungry for celebration, horny for fun, and who won't stop until every need is fulfilled. His appetite and passion for life is voracious. His ability to transform those passions into making life better for others is even more impressive"—Atom Egoyan
"No one I know has done more for the world of Philanthropy than Salah Bachir and he does it with such Style and Grace." —Greg Gorman
"Why would so many great and powerful people warm to Salah Bachir? Clearly, for comfort in the personal warmth that permeates this lovely memoir of his life among the famous, as well as the sensitivity and intelligence that make this something extraordinary: a celebrity book without fawning or hype.’ —David Hajdu, New York Times bestselling author of Lush Life and Positively 4th Street
"Salah Bachir has the biggest Lebanese heart of anyone I know.’ —Norman Jewison
"I don't think I can gild the lily further or embellish the sense of affection and admiration showered legitimately by so many of Salah’s friends for his extraordinary generosity and enthusiasm for life, his devotion to arts and culture, his courage in the face of medical adversity and his love of the olive groves of Lebanon. It's entirely understandable that people should love him so dearly. Salah you are a hero." —Stephen Lewis, co-founder of AIDS-Free World and UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa 2001- 2007
"As his book promises, Salah Bachir is “First to Leave the Party,” and also always first to step up to the plate – so much so that he is a magnet to famous people everywhere who all seek his company. A great book by a great man, who also happens to be a great friend." —Ben Vereen