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February 10, 2014 AT 7:08 AM
Former tennis pro turned Texas oilman, Robert Edsel took a risk when he walked away from a lucrative business to launch the third act of his life as a detective specializing in art plundered by Nazi Germany. Now, with a best-selling novel and after rubbing shoulders with Hollywood headliners such as George Clooney, the gamble seems to have paid off. Edsel is the man behind "The Monuments Men," whose book about the allied forces team tasked with returning looted art to rightful owners after World War Two has been given the full Hollywood treatment. Clooney assembled a top-shelf cast to play art experts and took on directing the film version, which opens nationwide on Friday. The movie also brings attention to Edsel's Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation, where efforts to return the stolen artwork continue nearly 70 years later.