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Pickens Turns Author for a $1.5-Million Fee

September 25, 1985|NANCY RIVERA | Times Staff Writer

From the man who brought you some of the most spectacular takeover battles in recent oil industry history comes a new venture: the autobiography of T. Boone Pickens Jr.

Pickens has never captured any of his oil company targets--including Cities Service, General American Oil, Superior Oil, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum and Los Angeles-based Unocal--but he was able to walk away with a $1.5-million advance from Boston-based Houghton Mifflin, which will publish Pickens' autobiography in the spring of 1987.

"I couldn't take over Unocal, so I decided to become a writer," Pickens said in an interview.

The book, which doesn't have a title yet, "will start as far back as I can remember," he said. "It will have something about all the deals and all the personalities involved in the deals."

The $1.5-million advance is "not too shabby," one publishing industry source said.

Among other big advances paid in recent years: David A. Stockman, the former federal budget director, received more than $2 million for his autobiography, which Harper & Row will publish next spring; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner got an undisclosed seven-figure advance; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly received $1 million, while unsuccessful Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro reportedly reaped somewhat less.

Pickens said that he and his wife, Bea, met for two days with seven publishers in New York earlier this month. The 57-year-old founder of Amarillo, Tex.-based Mesa Petroleum picked Houghton Mifflin, the high bidder of the group, late Monday night.

Pickens declined to identify the other six publishers.

Pickens said he will write the book with the assistance of Joseph Nocera, a senior editor at Texas Monthly magazine.

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