Fact or fiction? W hether a story or statement rings true or not means everything when it comes to believing it. The old saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction” usually holds up, but not when you combine the forces of an ultra-talented con artist, a sensationalist author, and a larger than-life filmmaker. In the case of Frank Abagnale, the world’s greatest con artist, the fictionalizations and exaggerations of his autobiography co-author, Stan Redding, and the film telling of that book by producer and director Steven Spielberg, contributed to a set of lies that he had to uphold. At some point in his life, Abagnale probably wanted to tell the truth. By the time the book he co-wrote and the film about his early crimes were released, he couldn’t back out. Abagnale, the fictionalized anti-hero turned hero whommedia had created, needed to keep going. The fact that the story sold probably provided all the reason why. The Redding and Spielberg versions of his life made good copy, as they say in journalism. Another old saying goes that if you tell the

Frank William Abagnale Jr. photographed in 2008.



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