09 November 2009

Each Maid a Heroine and Each Man a Friend | Team Swifty & Collins, 1991

Actress Joan Collins and agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar enjoy a drink together before suing Random House for $1.3 million, 1991.

In September 1991, Joan Collins delivered a 690-page manuscript to Random House. However, the publishing firm later demanded the return of its $1.3 million advance from Collins, claiming she failed to deliver completed books as per her contract. In court, Collins stated that Random House had received her novel, The Ruling Passion, in 1991 plus another novel, Hell Hath No Fury, in September 1992. Her Random House contract, negotiated by agent Irving Lazar, required that she was to be paid even if her completed manuscripts were not published.

On February 29, 1996, a jury determined that she could keep the advance for the first novel, but the publisher did not have to pay for the second manuscript since it was a reworking of the first. Judge Ira Gammerman then ruled that Random House owed Collins $925,000 plus interest for a grand total of $1.3 million. The Guinness Book of World Records cites Collins as holding the record for retaining the world's largest unreturned payment for an unpublished manuscript.