Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers was easily a more colorful character than most of the ones portrayed on-screen by many of her famous clients.
Equal parts brassy, brusque and brilliant, Mengers represented the cream of Hollywood from Steve McQueen to Barbra Streisand throughout the 1960s until the late '80s. Now Mengers' adventures and antics are chronicled in "Can I Go Now?" (Viking, $27.95), a new biography by Brian Kellow, author of "Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark." The title refers to a phrase Mengers would say when she wanted to end a conversation.
Mengers, who died in 2011, ordered that all of her papers and business archive be destroyed beforehand. Kellow interviewed many of the rich and famous that Mengers encountered to serve up plenty of dish about the wheeling and dealing she would do for her clients.
Also covered are Mengers' Bronx childhood, including her father's suicide; her friendship and falling out with Barbra Streisand; her 23-year marriage, and the wild parties she'd host for A-listers, or "twinklies" as she called them.
At one soiree, Michael Caine got a surprise when he went to sweeten his coffee and was stopped by Mengers, who warned, "Don't touch that. It's cocaine."