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BOOK LIST:

Actors of Stage and Screen Biographies

Updated: January 11, 2017

Biographies and autobiographies for Thespians--past, present and future.


by Stanislavsky, Konstantin, 1863-1938.
Call Number: 809.25 S786-9 2010
The method shines pure and uncut from the godhead in this new translation of the classic acting textbook. Teachers will argue forever about the master's intentions, but this uncut translation from previously unavailable materials is as close as you can get to the horse's mouth.

by Rice, Christina, 1974-
Call Number: 812.092 D988Ri

A brilliantly researched and beautifully written biography of the talented actress who fought the studio system and paid the price of stardom deferred. This book transcends most film biographies because of the exhaustive study of Ms. Dvorak’s personal and public life that unfolds in Christina Rice’s polished prose full of real affection for the subject. A must read for those interested in the star system and the life of one of Hollywood’s leading ladies who paid the price for being truly independent.


by Stenn, David.
Call Number: 812.092 H286St
This thoughtful and painstakingly researched biography of Hollywood's original platinum blonde dispels unfavorable rumors and presents a woman far removed from her sex-symbol image.

by Niven, David, 1910-1983.
Call Number: 822.092 N734-1

Delightful recounting of Niven's early Hollywood years. Hilarious anecdotes about movie stars and moguls from Gable to Goldwyn. A must-read for any film buff.

David Niven—Best Actor, 1958 for Separate Tables

 

 


by Collis, Rose.
Call Number: 822.092 B882Co
Coral Browne was an actress of stage, screen and television, and also a liberated, witty and elegant woman. She was audaciously outspoken and seductive with a long list of famous lovers plus a loyal following of gay men who admired her lack of caution when speaking her mind.

by Beath, Warren Newton, 1951-
Call Number: 812.092 D281Be
What starts off as an in-depth analysis of James Dean's demise, turns into a fascinating character study of the author's morbid obsession with the actor's death, which alienates him from other Dean fanatics and takes a toll on his marriage.

by Lithgow, John, 1945-
Call Number: 812.092 L776
An actor's actor reflects on his upbringing in regional theater and his subsequent success on stage and screen. An obsessive affair with Liv Ulman during and after a revival of Anna Christie is one of this volume's most compelling chapters. Questions of craft and career path are explored with a combination of critical insight and visceral spontaniety that make this invaluable to those curious about the actors life as well as those who can apply these lessons to their careers.

by Kashner, Sam.
Call Number: 812.092 T2393Ka

They broke all the rules when there were rules to be broken, and at a time when it was truly outrageous to be bad. Their tempestuous, extravagant relationship made sizzling headline news.

Elizabeth Taylor—Best Actress, 1960 (Butterfield 8) and 1966 (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
 
Richard Burton—BAFTA Award, 1965 (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) and 1966 (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

 


by Rhodes, Richard
Call Number: 812.092 L216Rh

Not just another pretty actress, at one point she was called, “The most beautiful woman in the world.” Lamarr also had a brain and it was for the scientific and technical. She and composer George Antheil worked on a radio-controlled spread-spectrum communications system that included frequency hopping which later would prove important in cell phones and GPS technology. With Antheil she shared The Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


by Oller, John.
Call Number: 812.092 A788Ol
John Oller does a more than admirable job of uncovering the life of the reclusive Jean Arthur who dazzled audiences with her comedic wit but shied away from the public eye.

by Miller, John, 1937-
Call Number: 822.092 D319Mi 2000
A wonderful biography written by a distinguished theatre critic with access to Dame Judi. She speaks at length about her technique in several landmark productions. This is a particularly articulate look at the process of an exceptional artist.

by Yankee, Luke.
Call Number: 812.092 H448Ya

Touching memoir penned by character actress Heckart's youngest son. The talented Heckart was a Broadway and Hollywood veteran whose indelible portrayals (in everything from The Bad Seed to The Mary Tyler Moore Show) earned her many prestigious awards, yet she was never a household name. The book gives us a peek into the peculiar state of living "just outside the spotlight." The tone is loving but it's a fun read, crammed with dishy anecdotes about Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Lucille Ball, to name a few.

Eileen Heckart--Best Supporting Actress, 1972 for Butterflies are Free

 

by Wilder, Gene, 1935-
Call Number: 812.092 W673
One of the best autobiographies by an actor ever. Wilder examines his life and career( The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka to name but a few) with uncompromising honesty, keen analysis, and truly remarkable prose.

by Turner, Lana, 1921-1995.
Call Number: 812.092 T948
As highly lacquered as her 1940s hair and makeup, but still a fun, juicy read.

by Courtney, Marguerite, 1904-
Call Number: 812.092 T243Co2
Charming and informative, this biography delivers a vivid portrait of a forgotten American actress who was the envy of her peers. Among her credits; she originated the role of Amanda Wingfield in A Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

by Brooks, Louise, 1906-1985.
Call Number: 812.092 B8727 2000
A collection of eight autobiographical essays by iconic silent film actress Louise Brooks. Topics include her own beginnings at the Denishawn School and as a dancer for the Ziegfeld Follies, as well as keen-eyed portraits of some of her contemporaries, including Chaplin, Bogart, and Garbo.

by Morgan, Michelle.
Call Number: 812.092 M753Mo
Nearly fifty years and a few hundred books after Marilyn Monroe's untimely death, Michelle Morgan somehow manages to provide a fresh and honest take on the life of the legendary actress. Beautifully laid out and featuring many never-before-seen photos.

by Riva, Maria.
Call Number: 812.092 D566Ri
From Berlin to Hollywood to the front lines of WWII, from Vegas to Paris and all points in between, Marlene Dietrich led a life of almost unimaginable sophistication and glamor. Penned by Dietrich's only child, the book is filled with the delicious minutiae that only a true insider can provide, yet it is not a bashing Mommie Dearest-type tome. Rather, it is an unparalleled must-read for anyone interested in the Golden Age of Hollywood and/or biographies of remarkable women.

by McGilligan, Patrick.
Call Number: 791.92 R2635McG
A look at the Forest Gump-esque career of Nicholas Ray. Frank Lloyd Wright, Leadbelly and John Houseman all figure in this life of the director of Rebel Without a Cause. Of particular interest are the later chapters that take place in Europe where Ray works in self-exile due to McCarthyist pressures and raging sex, drug and gambling addictions. The machinations his producers go through to provide financing and hide lack thereof will raise eyebrows and drop jaws.

by Lahr, John, 1941-
Call Number: 812.092 L184La 2000
The life of Bert Lahr written by his son, drama critic John Lahr. Besides great anecdotes on the making of The Wizard of Oz, this jewel articulates the method and philosophy of one of the great comic actors of the 20th century.

by Fisher, Carrie.
Call Number: 812.092 F533-2

In her latest memoir, actress/writer Carrie Fisher reflects on her complicated relationship with Princess Leia, the character she first brought to life four decades ago in the original Star Wars film. Also discussed at length is the three-month affair she had with co-star Harrison Ford during the location shoot. Drawing from journals Fisher kept at the time, the memoir is at times a painful yet relatable chronicle of a 19-year-old who, despite being on the verge of international fame, is consumed with the raw emotions of unrequited young love.

 

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