Candid, colorful, and occasionally shocking portraits of Hollywood's brightest and most fascinating stars, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
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.
Recorded back in 1988 two years before her death, these candid conversations are a treasure trove of anecdotes from Hollywood’s earthiest goddess. She talks about her poor Southern upbringing, the photograph taken of her as a teenager that caught a talent scout’s eye, the strokes that partially froze her gorgeous face, and her marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra (who was “good in the feathers”), as well as her relationship with billionaire Howard Hughes “before he was a nut.”
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
A meticulous and heartfelt biography of actress Fay Wray and screenwriter Robrt Riskin, written by their daughter, Victoria Riskin.
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.
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.
Riveting biography chronicling the first few years of Barbra Streisand’s astounding career. Mann’s detailed yet absorbing narrative recounts how an insecure yet ambitious teenager reached the precipice of international stardom in under four years. Long but, much like its subject, the book is endlessly fascinating and is a must for Streisand enthusiasts.
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
Christina Rice offers the first biography about Jane Russell, the film actress and activist, perhaps best known for her role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and the marketing campaign behind Howard Hughes' The Outlaw (1943). Beyond the screen, she was a complex and confident woman who worked to create the WAIF Foundation (World Adoption International Fund), which was actively engaged in adoption advocay. Christina Rice's extensive research offers a fresh perspective on a star whose legacy endures not simply because she forged a notable film career, but because she effectively used her celebrity to benefit others.
Witty memoir penned by the actor who starred in "All About Eve" and was Zsa Zsa Gabor's third husband. A sensitive heart beat underneath the churlish exterior, however, and Sanders took his own life several years after the book's publication.
George Sanders—Best Supporting Actor, 1951 for All About Eve
Brilliant biography of a darling of the Pre-code era, actress Miriam Hopkins. Ellenberger’s substantive and painstakingly researched book provides the first real insights into a notoriously difficult actress and sheds light on the woman behind the movie star. Ellenberger’s book is both captivating and nuanced, promising to be the conclusive examination of Hopkins.
Mary Astor spills the dirt about John Barrymore, failed marriages, alcohol abuse, the notorious George Kaufman diary scandal, and a film career spanning 45 years.
Mary Astor--Best Supporting Actress, 1941 for The Great Lie
This excellent piece of writing from Oscar winner Simone Signoret (Room at the Top) recounts her early years as a half-Jewish aspiring actress in World War II-era France, and her marriage to popular singer Yves Montand (who had a high-profile affair with Marilyn Monroe while married to Signoret).
Simone Signoret--Best Actress, 1959 (Room at the Top)
Orson Welles was an actor, director, producer, political and cultural activist and so much more. The totality of his contributions and influence are examained in this critical analysis of the man and his work.
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.
Astounding biography of Tallulah Bankhead, the most flamboyant and uninhibited actress of her generation. Known for her acerbic wit, acid tongue, and outrageous behavior, Bankhead carved a niche on stage, television, and film that remains untouched yet her private life always seemed to cloud her professional accomplishments. Lobenthal’s mammoth examination of the actress provides unparalleled insight into one of the most fascinating and unforgettable personalities of the twentieth century.
A truly extraordinary biography of silent and early talkie era actor William “Billy” Haines. Haines was the top box office draw at MGM in 1930 however, his refusal to walk away from a same-sex relationship that ultimately spanned more than 50 years led him to walk away from Hollywood stardom for good. Mann’s biography is not only a compelling analysis of Haines but a fascinating look at gay life during the first half of the twentieth century