Film | Wide Angle

Shep Gordon lives life like a movie

by Giovanni Fazio

Behind every star, you can be sure there’s a schmoozing, shouting manager who got them where they are. It’s not a profession noted for its integrity; managers most often make news when being sued by a former client. Yet comedian Mike Myers (“Austin Powers”) likes his manager so much, he made a film about him.

“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” directed by Myers and Beth Aala, is a doc that follows the career of this “quintessential” Hollywood insider, a guy who arrived in L in the late 1960s with nothing more than a big bag of weed and a Jewfro and one day later was hanging out with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison.

As rapper Fab 5 Freddy puts it, “The thing about Shep is he tells the best stories.” The doc is laugh-out-loud funny as Gordon describes his antics on tour with shock rocker Alice Cooper and R&B sensation Teddy Pendergrass, and the many stunts he pulled to make them stars, including generating the infamous headline, “Alice Cooper Rips Head Off Chicken!… And Drinks Blood!” Just when you’re thinking, “Jeez, this guy’s life sounds like ‘Almost Famous,’ ” it turns out that one of that movie’s most iconic scenes came from Gordon.

Breaking celebrity chefs, dating Sharon Stone, screwing Frank Zappa, producing Ridley Scott’s first film, cooking breakfast for the Dalai Lama — Gordon seems ubiquitous. Yet for a guy who’s spent his life making people rich and famous, he offers some hard-earned wisdom: “Fame is something that’s very hard to survive, and has no intrinsic value in and of itself.”

“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” is now playing nationwide.