Book picks similar to
Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir by Victoria Riskin
I Loved Her in the Movies: Working with the Legendary Actresses of Hollywood
Robert J. Wagner - 2016
During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. I Loved Her in the Movies is his intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made as actresses as well as the choices they made as women.Among Wagner’s subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. In addition to offering perceptive commentary on these women, Wagner also examines topics such as the strange alchemy of the camera—how it can transform the attractive into the stunning, and vice versa—and how the introduction of color brought a new erotic charge to movies, one that enabled these actresses to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that that black and white films had only hinted at.Like Wagner’s two previous bestsellers, I Loved Her in the Movies will be a privileged look behind the scenes at some of the most well-known women in show business as well as an insightful look at the sexual and romantic attraction that created their magic.
Marlene: A Personal Biography of Marlene Dietrich
Charlotte Chandler - 2011
In the mid-1970s Charlotte Chandler spoke with Marlene Dietrich in Dietrich’s Paris apartment. The star’s career was all but over, but she agreed to meet because Chandler hadn’t known Dietrich earlier, “when I was young and very beautiful.” Dietrich may have been retired, but her appearance and her celebrity—her famous mystique—were as important to her as ever. Marlene Dietrich’s life is one of the most fabulous in Hollywood history. She began her career in her native Berlin as a model, then a stage and screen actress during the silent era, becoming a star with the international success The Blue Angel. Then, under the watchful eye of the director of that film, her mentor Josef von Sternberg, she came to America and became one of the brightest stars in Hollywood. She made a series of acclaimed pictures—Morocco, Shanghai Express, Blonde Venus, Destry Rides Again, among many others—that propelled her to international stardom. With the outbreak of World War II, the fiercely anti-Nazi Dietrich became an American citizen and entertained Allied troops on the front lines. After the war she embarked on a new career as a stage performer, and with her young music director, the gifted Burt Bacharach—whom Chandler interviewed for the book—Dietrich had an outstanding second career. Dietrich spoke candidly with Chandler about her unconventional private life: although she never divorced her husband, Rudi Sieber, she had numerous well-publicized affairs with his knowledge (and he had a longtime mistress with her approval). By the late 1970s, plagued by accidents, Dietrich had become a virtual recluse in her Paris apartment, communicating with the outside world almost entirely by telephone Marlene Dietrich lived an extraordinary life, and Marlene relies extensively on the star’s own words to reveal how intriguing and fascinating that life really was.
The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made
Greg Sestero - 2013
Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Now in its tenth anniversary year, The Room is an international phenomenon to rival The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thousands of fans wait in line for hours to attend screenings complete with costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.Readers need not have seen The Room to appreciate its costar Greg Sestero’s account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and interpersonal relationships to achieve the dream only he could love. While it does unravel mysteries for fans, The Disaster Artist is more than just an hilarious story about cinematic hubris: It is ultimately a surprisingly inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of a supremely enigmatic man who will capture your heart.
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Rob Lowe - 2011
During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the eighties, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.
Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon
Marc Eliot - 2017
He examines how a small boy from the backwoods of Michigan rose to become one of Hollywood’s most legendary stars, one of the Greatest Generation’s true-life war heroes - he saw action in the Pacific Theater during World War Two, before moving with his young wife from Chicago to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen to begin their struggle to find success in the theater. Eliot traces Heston’s pioneering work in live television, his being discovered by Hollywood because of it, and tells the amazing saga of his three films for Cecil B. DeMille and his two for William Wyler, including The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, the latter for which he won a Best-Actor Oscar, with fascinating new details, documents and photographs never before seen. Eliot follows Heston through the genre of Science Fiction, which he helped revive with Planet of the Apes, and sheds new light on every one of Heston’s iconic films. He also examines Heston’s long political involvements, from boom one of the organizers of Hollywood’s faction of marchers who joined with Martin Luther King, Jr. for the March on Washington, to his mentoring under Ronald Reagan for eventual presidency of the Screen Actors Guild, to his late-in-life presidency of, the National Rifle Association, all the while refusing the Republican Party’s continual pleas for him to run for president of the United States after Reagan. With unprecedented cooperation with Heston’s family, and never-before-seen personal photos, documents and hand-written letters, Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon for the first time tells the real story of Charlton’s Heston’s amazing life, an incisive, detailed, compelling portrayal, both for longtime fans, Hollywood movie lovers everywhere and a new college and TCM generation discovering Heston’s work for the first time.
James Curtis - 2011
CohanHis full name was Spencer Bonaventure Tracy. He was called “The Gray Fox” by Frank Sinatra; other actors called him the “The Pope.”Spencer Tracy’s image on-screen was that of a self-reliant man whose sense of rectitude toward others was matched by his sense of humor toward himself. Whether he was Father Flanagan of Boys Town, Clarence Darrow of Inherit the Wind, or the crippled war veteran in Bad Day at Black Rock, Tracy was forever seen as a pillar of strength.In his several comedy roles opposite Katharine Hepburn (Woman of the Year and Adam’s Rib among them) or in Father of the Bride with Elizabeth Taylor, Tracy was the sort of regular American guy one could depend on.Now James Curtis, acclaimed biographer of Preston Sturges (“Definitive” —Variety), James Whale, and W. C. Fields (“By far the fullest, fairest, and most touching account . . . we have yet had. Or are likely to have” —Richard Schickel, The New York Times Book Review, cover review), gives us the life of one of the most revered screen actors of his generation.Curtis writes of Tracy’s distinguished career, his deep Catholicism, his devoted relationship to his wife, his drinking that got him into so much trouble, and his twenty-six-year-long bond with his partner on-screen and off, Katharine Hepburn. Drawing on Tracy’s personal papers and writing with the full cooperation of Tracy’s daughter, Curtis tells the rich story of the brilliant but haunted man at the heart of the legend. We see him from his boyhood in Milwaukee; given over to Dominican nuns (“They drill that religion in you”); his years struggling in regional shows and stock (Tracy had a photographic memory and an instinct for inhabiting a character from within); acting opposite his future wife, Louise Treadwell; marrying and having two children, their son, John, born deaf.We see Tracy’s success on Broadway, his turning out mostly forgettable programmers with the Fox Film Corporation, and going to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and getting the kinds of roles that had eluded him in the past—a streetwise priest opposite Clark Gable in San Francisco; a screwball comedy, Libeled Lady; Kipling’s classic of the sea, Captains Courageous. Three years after arriving at MGM, Tracy became America’s top male star.We see how Tracy embarked on a series of affairs with his costars . . . making Northwest Passage and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which brought Ingrid Bergman into his life. By the time the unhappy shoot was over, Tracy, looking to do a comedy, made Woman of the Year. Its unlikely costar: Katharine Hepburn.We see Hepburn making Tracy her life’s project—protecting and sustaining him in the difficult job of being a top-tier movie star.And we see Tracy’s wife, Louise, devoting herself to studying how deaf children could be taught to communicate orally with the hearing and speaking world.Curtis writes that Tracy was ready to retire when producer-director Stanley Kramer recruited him for Inherit the Wind—a collaboration that led to Judgment at Nuremberg, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and Tracy’s final picture, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner . . . A rich, vibrant portrait—the most intimate and telling yet of this complex man considered by many to be the actor’s actor.
Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis
Kathryn Sermak - 2017
As Bette Davis aged she was looking for an assistant, but she found something more than that in Kathryn: a loyal and loving buddy, a co-conspirator in her jokes and schemes, and a competent assistant whom she trained never to miss a detail. But Miss D had strict rules for Kathryn about everything from how to eat a salad to how to wear her hair...even the spelling of Kathryn's name was changed (adding the "y") per Miss D's request. Throughout their time together, the two grew incredibly close, and Kathryn had a front-row seat to the larger-than-life Davis's career renaissance in her later years, as well as to the humiliating public betrayal that nearly killed Miss D. The frame of this story is a four-day road trip Kathryn and Davis took from Biarritz to Paris, during which they disentangled their ferocious dependency. Miss D and Me is a window into the world of the unique and formidable Bette Davis, told by the person who perhaps knew her best of all.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes - 2014
Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
Dean and Me: A Love Story
Jerry Lewis - 2005
Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once. Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly without end—and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended.After that traumatic day, the two wouldn’t speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers—Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies—their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man’s heart.In a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts with crystal clarity every step of a fifty-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.In Dean and Me, Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the great — and most underrated — comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time.
In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles
Chris Welles Feder - 2009
Many books have been written about him, detailing his achievements as an artist as well his foibles as a human being. None of them, however, has gotten so close to the real man as does Chris Welles Feder's beautifully realized portrait of her father. In My Father's Shadow is a classic story of a life lived in the public eye, told with affection and the wide-eyed wonder of a daughter who never stopped believing that someday she would truly know and understand her elusive and larger-than-life father. The result is a moving and insightful look at life in the shadow of a legendary figure and an immensely entertaining story of growing up in the unreal reality of Hollywood, enhanced by Welles Feder's collection of many never-before-seen family photographs.
Sam Shepard: A Life
John J. Winters - 2017
Despite these accomplishments and more—five collections of prose, songwriting with Bob Dylan, filmmaking with Robert Frank and Michelangelo Antonioni, as well as romantic relationships with rocker Patti Smith and actress Jessica Lange—Shepard seems anything but satisfied. Sam Shepard: A Life details his lifelong bouts of insecurity and anxiety, and delves deeply into his relationship with his alcoholic father and his own battle with the bottle. Also examined for the first time in-depth are Shepard’s tumultuous relationship with Lange, and his decades-long adherence to the teachings of Russian spiritualist G. I. Gurdjieff.Throughout this new biography, Winters gets to the heart of the enigma that is Sam Shepard, presenting a direct and comprehensive account of his life and work.
Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me...: A Memoir
Stevie Phillips - 2015
And nobody witnessed Garland's fierce talent at closer range than Stevie Phillips. During the Mad Men era, Stevie Philips was a young woman muscling her way into the manscape of Manhattan's glittering office towers. After a stint as a secretary, she began working for Freddie Fields and David Begelman at Music Corporation of America (MCA) under the glare of legendary über-agent Lew Wasserman.When MCA blew apart, Fields and Begelman created Creative Management Associates (CMA), and Stevie went along. Fields convinced Garland to come on board, and Stevie became, as she puts it, "Garland's shadow," putting out fires-figurative and literal-in order to get her to the next concert in the next down-and-out town. Philips paints a portrait of Garland at the bitter end and although it was at times a nightmare, Philips says, "She became my teacher," showing her "how to" and "how not to" live.Stevie also represented Garland's fiercely talented daughter, Liza Minnelli, as well as Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Cat Stevens, and David Bowie. She produced both films and Broadway shows and counted her colleague, the legendary agent Sue Mengers, among her closest confidantes. Now Stevie Phillips reveals all in Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me..., a tough-talking memoir by a woman who worked with some of the biggest names in show business. It's a helluva ride.
Marilyn Monroe: The Biography
Donald Spoto - 1993
The book reveals new details of every aspect of her life, from her guarded childhood, and her relationships with men and marriages, to her mysterious death. Spoto comments on previous books about Marilyn, and puts to rest questions regarding Monroe's connection with the Kennedys.
The Moon's a Balloon
David Niven - 1971
One of the bestselling memoirs of all time, David Niven's The Moon's a Balloon is an account of one of the most remarkable lives Hollywood has ever seen.Beginning with the tragic early loss of his aristocratic father, then regaling us with tales of school, army and wartime hi-jinx, Niven shows how, even as an unknown young man, he knew how to live the good life.But it is his astonishing stories of life in Hollywood and his accounts of working and partying with the legends of the silver screen - Lawrence Oliver, Vivien Leigh, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward and dozens of others, while making some of the most acclaimed films of the last century - which turn David Niven's memoir into an outright masterpiece.An intimate, gossipy, heartfelt and above all charming account of life inside Hollywood's dream factory, The Moon is a Balloon is a classic to be read and enjoyed time and again..
Walt Disney: An American Original
Bob Thomas - 1960
After years of research, with the full cooperation of the Disney family and access to private papers and letters, Bob Thomas produced the definitive biography of the man behind the legend--the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City who went bankrupt on his first movie venture but became the genius who produced unmatched works of animation. Complete with a rare collection of photographs, Bob Thomas' biography is a fascinating and inspirational work that captures the spirit of Walt Disney.