Burly bard back to heartland

Joe Eszterhas, the writer who seemed at war with Hollywood through much of his career, has quietly packed his bags and gone away without good-byes to friends or associates.

The gonzo scripter of such films as “Basic Instinct” and “F.I.S.T.,” and, in leaner times, “Showgirls” and “Burn, Hollywood, Burn,” has moved his wife and three young children back to Cleveland, Ohio, whence he came.

It is not known whether he will continue writing movies or will focus entirely on what he would like to make his new career — writing books.

After last year’s successful book, “American Rhapsody,” the burly former Rolling Stone journalist signed a two-book deal. One book reportedly will be a nonfiction look at the Hollywood establishment, the other a thriller.

Certainly one sector of the community not sorry to see Eszterhas go will be the agents. Eszterhas had a habit of hiring and firing agents with abandon, at one time going through three in one year.

He also is remembered for his famous battle with Michael Ovitz, with whom he exchanged bitter words.

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