Book picks similar to
Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones


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The Kid Stays in the Picture


Robert Evans - 1994
    From his marriage to Ali McGraw, his cocaine bust, the accusations of murder, the friendships with the likes of Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, to his legendary court case and bust up with Francis Ford Coppola, this is the tell-all autobiography from Robert Evans, the legendary Hollywood producer (The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown) who's lived the Hollywood dream.

Robin


Dave Itzkoff - 2018
    He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century


Sam Kashner - 2009
    For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty, and their fiery romance—often called "the marriage of the century"—was the most notorious, publicized, and celebrated love affair of its day.For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of this larger-than-life couple, showing how their romance and two marriages commanded the attention of the world. Also for the first time, in exclusive access given to the authors, Elizabeth Taylor herself gives never-revealed details and firsthand accounts of her life with Burton.Drawing upon brand-new information and interviews—and on Burton's private, passionate, and heartbreaking letters to Taylor—Furious Love sheds new light on the movies, the sex, the scandal, the fame, the brawls, the booze, the bitter separations, and, of course, the fabled jewels. It offers an intimate glimpse into Elizabeth and Richard's privileged world and their elite circle of friends, among them Princess Grace, Montgomery Clift, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Peter O'Toole, Michael Caine, Marlon Brando, Rex Harrison, Mike Nichols, Laurence Olivier, Robert Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Noël Coward, John Huston, Ava Gardner, the Rothschilds, Maria Callas, and Aristotle Onassis. It provides an entertaining, eye-opening look at their films, their wildly lucrative reign in Europe and in Hollywood—and the price they paid for their extravagant lives.Shocking and unsparing in its honesty, Furious Love explores the very public marriage of "Liz and Dick" as well as the private struggles of Elizabeth and Richard, including Le Scandale, their affair on the set of the notorious epic Cleopatra that earned them condemnation from the Vatican; Burton's hardscrabble youth in Wales; the crippling alcoholism that nearly destroyed his career and contributed to his early death; the medical issues that plagued both him and Elizabeth; and the failed aspirations and shame that haunted him throughout their relationship. As Kashner and Schoenberger illuminate the events and choices that shaped this illustrious couple's story, they demonstrate how the legendary pair presaged America's changing attitudes toward sex, marriage, morality, and celebrity. Yet ultimately, as the authors show, Elizabeth and Richard shared something priceless beyond the drama: enduring love.Addictive and entertaining, Furious Love is more than a celebrity biography; it's an honest yet sympathetic portrait of a man, a woman, and a passion that shocked and mesmerized the world.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination


Neal Gabler - 2006
    We see the visionary, whose desire for escape honed an innate sense of what people wanted to see on the screen and, when combined with iron determination and obsessive perfectionism, led him to the reinvention of animation. It was Disney, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films - most notably Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi - who transformed animation from a novelty based on movement to an art form that presented an illusion of life.We see him reimagine the amusement park with Disneyland, prompting critics to coin the word Disneyfication to describe the process by which reality can be modified to fit one's personal desires. At the same time, he provided a new way to connect with American history through his live-action films and purveyed a view of the country so coherent that even today one can speak meaningfully of "Walt Disney's America." We see how the True-Life Adventure nature documentaries he produced helped create the environmental movement by sensitizing the general public to issues of conservation. And we see how he reshaped the entertainment industry by building a synergistic empire that combined film, television, theme parks, music, book publishing, and merchandise in a way that was unprecedented and was later widely imitated.Gabler also reveals a wounded, lonely, and often disappointed man, who, despite worldwide success, was plagued with financial problems much of his life, suffered a nervous breakdown, and at times retreated into pitiable seclusion in his workshop making model trains. Gabler explores accusations that Disney was a red-baiter, an anti-Semite, an embittered alcoholic. But whatever the characterizations of Disney's personal life, he appealed to the nation by demonstrating the power of wish fulfillment and the triumph of the American imagination. Walt Disney showed how one could impose one's will on the world.This is a masterly biography, a revelation of both the work and the man - of both the remarkable accomplishment and the hidden life.

Nerd Do Well


Simon Pegg - 2009
    Having blasted onto the small screens with his now legendary sitcom Spaced, his rise to the UK's favourite son status has been mercurial, meteoric, megatronnic, but mostly just plain great.From his childhood (and subsequently adult) obsession with Star Wars, his often passionate friendship with Nick Frost, and his forays into stand-up which began with his regular Monday morning slot in front of his 12-year-old classmates, this is a joyous tale of a homegrown superstar and a loval boy made good.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Elephant to Hollywood


Michael Caine - 2010
    The scripts being sent his way were worse and worse. When one script really disappointed, he called the producer to complain about the part. The producer said, "No, no, we don't want you for the lover, we want you for the father." Salvation came in the unlikely form of his old friend Jack Nicholson, who convinced him to give acting one more shot. What followed was not only an incredible personal transformation but also one of the most radical comebacks in film history. Learning to accept his new role both on camera and in his own life, Caine went on to win his second Oscar, be knighted by the queen, and deliver some of his best performances to date. Now he shares the spectacular story of his life, from his humble upbringing in London's poverty-stricken Elephant and Castle, his military service, touching marriage and family life, and lively adventures with friends, to legendary meetings with fellow stars, forays as a restaurateur, and hilarious off-screen encounters from his glittering five-decade career. Caine brings his gift for storytelling and his insider's view to a tale that is funny, warm, and deeply honest.

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years


Julie Andrews Edwards - 2019
    In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage. With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films--Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry -- from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations. Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews's trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

So, Anyway...


John Cleese - 2014
    En route, John Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter’s Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths; his endlessly peripatetic home life with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any house for longer than six months; his first experiences in the world of work as a teacher who knew nothing about the subjects he was expected to teach; his hamster-owning days at Cambridge; and his first encounter with the man who would be his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman. And so on to his dizzying ascent via scriptwriting for Peter Sellers, David Frost, Marty Feldman and others to the heights of Monty Python.Punctuated from time to time with John Cleese’s thoughts on topics as diverse as the nature of comedy, the relative merits of cricket and waterskiing, and the importance of knowing the dates of all the kings and queens of England, this is a masterly performance by a former schoolmaster.

It's a Long Story: My Life


Willie Nelson - 2015
    Funny. Leaving no stone unturned." . . . So say the publishers about this book I've written. What I say is that this is the story of my life, told as clear as a Texas sky and in the same rhythm that I lived it. It's a story of restlessness and the purity of the moment and living right. Of my childhood in Abbott, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest, from Nashville to Hawaii and all the way back again. Of selling vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias while hosting radio shows and writing song after song, hoping to strike gold. It's a story of true love, wild times, best friends, and barrooms, with a musical sound track ripping right through it. My life gets lived on the road, at home, and on the road again, tried and true, and I've written it all down from my heart to yours. Signed,Willie Nelson

Love, Lucy


Lucille Ball - 1996
    The legendary star of the classic sitcom I Love Lucy was at the pinnacle of her success when she sat down to record the story of her life. No comedienne had made America laugh so hard, no television actress had made the leap from radio and B movies to become one of the world's best-loved performers. This is her story--in her own words.The story of the ingenue from Jamestown, New York, determined to go to Broadway, destined to make a big splash, bound to marry her Valentino, Desi Arnaz. In her own inimitable style, she tells of their life together--both storybook and turbulent; intimate memories of their children and friends; wonderful backstage anecdotes; the empire they founded; the dissolution of their marriage. And, with a heartfelt happy ending, her enduring marriage to Gary Morton.Here is the lost manuscript that her fans and loved ones will treasure. Here is the laughter. Here is the life. Here's Lucy...

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography


Eric Idle - 2018
    Now, Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on an unforgettable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theater, and film. Coming of age as a writer and comedian during the Sixties and Seventies, Eric stumbled into the crossroads of the cultural revolution and found himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of George Harrison, David Bowie, and Robin Williams, all of whom became dear lifelong friends. With anecdotes sprinkled throughout involving other close friends and luminaries such as Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels, and many more, as well as the Pythons themselves, Eric captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal parts hilarity and heart. In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, named for the song he wrote for Life of Brian (the film which he originally gave the irreverent title Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory) and that has since become the number one song played at funerals in the UK, he shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humor that has delighted audiences for five decades. The year 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Pythons, and Eric is marking the occasion with this hilarious memoir chock full of behind-the-scenes stories from a high-flying life featuring everyone from Princess Leia to Queen Elizabeth.

Love Life


Rob Lowe - 2014
    Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.In Love Life, you will find stories about:• Kissing Unexpectedly• The secrets they don't teach you in acting school• His great, great, great, great, great-grandfather's role in the American revolution• Parks and Recreation, Behind the Candelabra, and Californication• Trying to coach a kids' basketball team dominated by helicopter parents• The hot tub at the Playboy mansion• Starring in and producing a flop tv series• Camping at Sea World• Playing saxophone for president Bill Clinton• The first journey to college with his son• Warren Beatty• The benefits of marriageThroughout this entertaining book, you will find yourself in the presence of a master raconteur, a multi-talented performer whose love for life is as intriguing as his love life.

But Enough About Me


Burt Reynolds - 2015
    Burt Reynolds has been a Hollywood leading man for six decades, known for his legendary performances, sex-symbol status, and storied Hollywood romances. In his long career of stardom, during which he was number one at the box office for five years in a row, Reynolds has seen it all. But Enough About Me will tell his story through the people he’s encountered on his amazing journey. In his words, he plans to “call out the assholes,” try to make amends for “being the asshole myself on too many occasions,” and pay homage to the many heroes he has come to love and respect. Beginning with Reynolds’s adolescence as a notable football player and the devastating car accident that ended his sports career, But Enough About Me takes readers from the Broadway stages where Reynolds got his start to his subsequent rise to fame. From Oscar nominations, to the spread in Cosmopolitan magazine that remains a notorious pop-cultural touchstone to this day, to the financial decisions that took him from rich to poor and back again, Reynolds shares the wisdom that has come from his many highs and lows. He is also ready, now more than ever, to dish. Reynolds famously romanced Dinah Shore, Sally Field, and Loni Anderson, to name only the top few; batted eyes at Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Goldie Hawn, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Candice Bergen, and so many more; went a few rounds (or more) with the likes of Donald Trump and Helen Gurley Brown; and rubbed elbows with Jon Voight, Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Johnny Carson, among many others. Through it all, Reynolds reflects on his personal pitfalls and recoveries and refocuses his attention on his legacy as a father and an acting teacher, leaving readers with a classic from one of Hollywood’s most enduring and treasured stars.

Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years


Michael Palin - 2006
    This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys---Jones and Gilliam---and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy.But this is but only part of Palin's story. Here is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, which grows as he buys the house next door and then a second at the bottom of the garden; here, too, is his solo effort---as an actor, in Three Men in a Boat, his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones) that produces Ripping Yarns and even a pantomime.Meanwhile Monty Python refuses to go away: the hugely successful movies that follow the TV (his account of the making of both The Holy Grail and the Life of Brian movies are page-turners), the at times extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team, the fight to prevent an American TV network from bleeping out the best jokes on U.S. transmission, and much more---all this makes for funny and riveting reading.The birth and childhood of his three children, his father's growing disability, learning to cope as a young man with celebrity, his friendship with George Harrison, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these diaries. A perceptive and funny chronicle, the diaries are a rich portrait of a fascinating period.

Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn


Donald Spoto - 2006
    Over the course of her extraordinary life and career, Audrey Hepburn captured hearts around the world and created a public image that stands as one of the most recognizable and beloved in recent memory. But despite her international fame and her tireless efforts on behalf of UNICEF, Audrey was also known for her intense privacy. With unprecedented access to studio archives, friends and colleagues who knew and loved Audrey, bestselling author Donald Spoto provides an intimate and moving account of this beautiful, elusive and talented woman. Tracing her astonishing rise to stardom, from her harrowing childhood in Nazi-controlled Holland during World War II to her years as a struggling ballet dancer in London and her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut in "Gigi," Spoto illuminates the origins of Audrey's tenacious spirit and fiercely passionate nature. She would go on to star in some of the most popular movies of the twentieth century, including" Roman Holiday," "Sabrina," "Funny Face," " The Nun's Story," "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady." A friend and inspiration to renowned designer Hubert de Givenchy, Audrey emerged as a fashion icon as well as a film legend, her influence on women's fashion virtually unparalleled to this day. But behind the glamorous public persona, Audrey Hepburn was both a different and a deeper person and a woman who craved love and affection. Donald Spoto offers remarkable insights into her professional and personal relationships with her two husbands, and with celebrities such as Gregory Peck, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Robert Anderson, Cary Grant, Peter O'Toole, Albert Finney and Ben Gazzara. The turbulent romances of her youth, her profound sympathy for the plight of hungry children, and the thrills and terrors of motherhood prepared Audrey for the final chapter in her life, as she devoted herself entirely to the charity efforts of an organization that had once come to her rescue at the end of the war: UNICEF. Donald Spoto has written a poignant, funny and deeply moving biography of an unforgettable woman. At last, "Enchantment" reveals the private Audrey Hepburn--and invites readers to fall in love with her all over again. "She was as funny as she was beautiful. She was a magical combination of high chic and high spirits." --Gregory Peck "In spite of her fragile appearance, she's like steel." --Cary Grant "Audrey was known for something which has disappeared, and that is elegance, grace and manners . . . God kissed her on the cheek, and there she was." --Billy Wilder "There is not a woman alive who does not dream of looking like Audrey Hepburn." --Hubert de Givenchy "Her magnetism was so extraordinary that everyone wanted to be close to her. It was as if she placed a glass barrier between herself and the world. You couldn't get behind it easily. It made her remarkably attractive." --Stanley Donen "She has authentic charm. Most people simply have nice manners." --Alfred Lunt