I just read "Game Change" and while it's not exactly Kitty Kelley, it's a good read and even moreso since Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt say the Palin stuff is true.
What are some other unauthorized good reads? I remember these books from when I was younger. Any of them good?
- His Way (Frank Sinatra)
- Jackie Oh! (Jacqueline Onassis)
- Nancy Reagan
- That Girl! (And Phil) - (Marlo Thomas)
- Call Her Miss Ross (Diana Ross)
The Marlene Dietrich book by her daughter is amazing.
Ditto r1. It's the best celebrity bio I've ever read. Maria Riva's writing is so vivid and descriptive you can see everything in your mind beautifully. Not to mention Dietrich's hilariously bitchy comments about her Hollywood contemporaries, almost all of whom she disliked.
"Mommie Dearest," of course.
Completely agree, R1 & R2. It's the H'wd bio I always recommend.
Just started reading Joan Crawford bio-"Posessed" by Donald Spoto. Early Hollywood sounds fascinating-rich material for a mini-series. Anyway I wish Spoto's book was a bit more muck raking and trashy.
Recently finished Liz Taylor bio by David Bret. Extremly gossipy, very enjoyable. Actually Bret has a reputation as a hack, great! He also has a Dietrich bio under his belt too.
Thank God for public libraries.
Wheel me in nurse, I'll talk to them tomorrow...
R4, I admit I was disappointed with POSSESSED. I wanted much more. It's too bad MOMMIE DEAREST was done because I'd love to see a biopic on the young Crawford.
I enjoyed CALL HER MISS ROSS and it really delivers on the dirt. There were many great stories in that one.
I have to check out the Marlene Dietrich book.
I recommended this one before and a lot of folks still mention it -
The Grand Surprise - the journals of Leo Lerman.
Not intended for publication, but very readable - Leo was friends with Maria Callas and friendly with Jackie and the stories are incredible. On the night JFK was assassinated, Maria kicked Ari out of her Rome apartment and screamed out the window at him about his liking the butt sex and little boys.
Another great read is Nemesis about the triangle between Jackie, RFK and Onassis, written by an Onassis aide, Peter Evans.
Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme.
Mary does such a great job of making herself look like a talentless, unloved, bankrupt mess!
The two autobiographies written by Shelley Winters. That woman fucked every man in Hollywood.
"High On Arrival" Mackenzie Phillips is the best I've read in years.
"What Falls Away" by Mia Farrow is well written and a page turner.
"Call Me Anne" by Patty Duke is the best of all of 'em.
That's so gross, R9. Even before the weight gain, she wasn't attractive. And that voice! The only good Shelley Winters films are the ones where she dies. Luckily there are many of those.
For me, the best Hollywood bio was on William Haines. Old Hollywood and filled with dirt. Read it twice.
r11, she wasn't attractive, but she was willing. Brando and Burt Lancaster are two she mentions in her book. Of course there were many others.
"Call Me ANNA" - sorry Miss O'Hara!
"Heart Like A Wheel" Linda Ronstadt
What about this one? It sounds great, but I've never seen it mentioned on here, and that worries me, especially since this one promises so much:
The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine
[quote]Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling are virtually unknown outside of Hollywood and little-remembered even there, but as General Manager and Head of Publicity for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, they lorded over all the stars in Hollywood's golden age from the 1920s through the 1940s--including legends like Garbo, Dietrich, Gable and Garland. When MGM stars found themselves in trouble, it was Eddie and Howard who took care of them--solved their problems, hid their crimes, and kept their secrets. They were "the Fixers." At a time when image meant everything and the stars were worth millions to the studios that owned them, Mannix and Strickling were the most important men at MGM. Through a complex web of contacts in every arena, from reporters and doctors to corrupt police and district attorneys, they covered up some of the most notorious crimes and scandals in Hollywood history, keeping stars out of jail and, more importantly, their names out of the papers. They handled problems as diverse as the murder of Paul Bern (husband of MGM's biggest star, Jean Harlow), the studio-directed drug addictions of Judy Garland, the murder of Ted Healy (creator of The Three Stooges) at the hands of Wallace Beery, and arranging for an unmarried Loretta Young to adopt her own child--a child fathered by a married Clark Gable. Through exhaustive research and interviews with contemporaries, this is the never-before-told story of Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling. The dual biography describes how a mob-related New Jersey laborer and the quiet son of a grocer became the most powerful men at the biggest studio in the world.
Arthur Laurent's "Original Story By". I haven't read the newest book published after his death, but his first one was soooo bitchy. He hates almost everyone, and bitches about Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor.
Barbara Seaman's Jacqueline Susann biography is a must have. Actually very well written and researched. Surprising - with such a trashy author as JS, I expected a biography of her to be the same.
Jackie Oh! is pretty entertaining. It reveals Jackie Kennedy Onassis to be a shallow, materialistic, emotionally empty, first class snob. She's been revered by so many; it's refreshing to read a book that exposes her for what she really was.
I second "Lovely Me," the Jackie Susann bio. It's a great read. Jackie lived quite the eventful life.
Bitter queen Christopher Ciccone's "Life with My Sister Madonna" was entertaining.
"The First Time" by uber-DL-fave Cher contains some fun anecdotes, like the one where she & Lucy bond over their mutual Nixon hate.
I bought the Marlo book used on Amazon after reading about it on DL some time ago. Get the paperback version if possible. The author updated it to include Marlo horror stories he was told by her "victims" at book signings for the hardcover edition. Great trashy read.
The Andrew Morton book on Tom Cruise is good as is that recent bio of Warren Beatty
I THIRD "Lovely Me," the Jackie Susann bio. The only part I find objectionable is that the author "explains" Jackie's bisexuality as part of her dysfunctional relationship with her mother. WTF? I think Jackie was a lesbian -- she only fell in love romantically with women; men were quick fucks. (Sorry to the sensitive worried guys here).
Cher & Lucy who, R21?
Frank Langella's "Dropped Names" is fun, sometimes maddening but often poignant or hilarious. Read the chapter about Paul Newman and see if it doesn't answer the perpetual DL question, "Was he gay?"
"The Big Love" by Florence Aadland, the Dina Lohan of her day. She was the alcoholic mother of Z-list starlet Beverly Aadland, who had an affair with Errol Flynn when he was way past his prime and Beverly was jailbait. (Beverly's closest contemporary would be Courtney Stodden.)
It's the "Confederacy of Dunces" of celebrity autobiographies -- and William Styron wrote the introduction!
[quote] It's too bad MOMMIE DEAREST was done because I'd love to see a biopic on the young Crawford
Be grateful for Mommie. If there hasn't been a Judy or Bette theatrical biopic, a Joan biopic wouldn't have been any more likely.
R22 Marlo, do you mean Marlo Thomas? Who wrote the bio?
r29 -- the book is called "That Girl and Phil," it's by her former butler, "Desmond Atholl," and it's the funniest 1-cent paperback you'll ever get from Amazon.
The best part is the afterword in the paperback edition, which consists solely of nasty stories the author heard about Marlo while he was on tour promoting the hardback edition.
[quote]Frank Langella's "Dropped Names" is fun, sometimes maddening but often poignant or hilarious
So is Langella gay, bi, or just one of those hetero's that will fuck anything. Because he admits to a 3-way at the least.
The mid century art scene in NYC is an interest of mine.
"The Unauthorized Autobiography of Larry Rivers" was a good and titillating read.
Larry is an under appreciated artist, best known for his pop art take on Dutch Masters cigars.
He knew and hung out with everyone in the art world. He was a notorious womanizer yet let men blow him. He tells the whole story of his sexuality.
Not clear, R31, but just fyi, his book does make clear Newman was not gay, but was boring.
[quote]Marlo, do you mean Marlo Thomas? Who wrote the bio?
The title is in OP's post.
[quote]That Girl! (And Phil) - (Marlo Thomas)
Written by their former butler, Desmond Atholl
"No one would ever dare write a book about me!" Mario Thomas supposedly once declared. "I'd either pay the f——— off or kill them!" Well, Mario, get your Uzi out. The former head of her household has written a hilarious tell-all tale about life with Thomas and husband Phil Donahue.
From the endless details offered by Atholl about his three years in the Thomas-Donahue orbit, a more fitting name for "That Girl" would be "That Churl." Mario, whose early-morning voice, "to the untrained ear, sounds like Styrofoam crunching," is, according to Atholl, a spoiled, petty Hollywood princess on a perpetual reign of terror.
It's hard to choose the funniest story in this memoir. Maybe it's Mario in a swivet when Desmond brings home tulips that are not the correct shade of white. Maybe it's Mario on a tear when she can't find a certain black dress for an important event and accuses the staff of stealing it. "It was ridiculous to suggest that I might have stolen your dress," Atholl says he informed Thomas when the garment had finally been located. "You know I never wear anything strapless."
Maybe it's Mario rebuking Desmond for serving snacks to Phil's college buddies with linen napkins, then ordering him to count the napkins.
"I told her that since she hated paper napkins, I presumed her guests should have linen.
" 'Not for these people,' she replied. 'Give them paper in the future. They'll never know the difference.' "
Or maybe it's the terrified-of-being-kid-napped Mario selling up elaborate security systems—and the fact that the butler would sometimes trigger the alarms just to frighten Thomas.
One can only wonder why Atholl stayed so long on the payroll. Perhaps it was out of regard for Phil, who's portrayed as even-tempered and easygoing (except when confronted with his wife's especially irrational and intemperate shenanigans). Perhaps he was trying to collect material for this book. Or maybe it had to do with Mario's uncanny ability to "transform herself from a savage beast into a sympathetic little girl in less than 30 minutes—and both portrayals were completely convincing."
"Nickel Dreams" Tanya Tucker
"Three Dog Nightmare" Chuck Negron
puhleese, r21, when one refers to Lucy it is always Lucille Ball.
Gelsey Kirkland's first bio "Dancing on My Grace" is total DL shit. Cocaine addiction, sexual addiction, anorexia, plastic surgery addiction, diva behavior. Oh, and one of the more interesting lines in the book, "Gelsey, did you ever have coke up your ass?"
Mae West's autobiography is fantastic--didn't know she was quite the health nut.
Just picked up Maria Riva's book from the library based on the recommendations in this thread.
The binding was broken to a page that described the older Dietrich, who wasn't bedridden but lived in bed, with trash cans full of piss under her bed. But she was too elegant (piss-elegant) for a bedpan, so she would urinate into a Limoges pitcher and dump the contents in the trash cans.
I think I'm going to enjoy this over the holidays...
R34 Why is "Mario" substituted for "Marlo" throughout this post? At first I thought Mario Lopez had married Phil Donahue!
"FULL SERVICE," by Scotty Bowers, the ex-Marine who fixed up all the stars with same-sex liaisons. Over a hundred girls for Katharine Hepburn, affairs with Noel Coward, Cary Grant, Raymond Burr, Walter Pidgeon, and many designers and directors. The big tell-all book of the year!
Oh Christ. Not that lame boring book again r41. Haven't you spammed us enough?
"Supermob" by Gus Russo
"Little Me" by Belle Poitrine
"First Lady: My Thirty Days Upstairs at the White House" by Martha Dinwiddie Butterfield
[quote]I recommended this one before and a lot of folks still mention it -The Grand Surprise - the journals of Leo Lerman.
I read it and was very dissappointed. He just came across as one of those ubiqutious tiresome fat "oh so knowing" culture gays that get off on being queen bees and who can be found in any big city. Not unique, and certainly not insightful. It quite bored me. If it had been better written perhaps it could have been interesting. Look at, for example, Serious Pleasures, the biography of Stephen Tennant who was a recluse for much of his life and an annoying flame queen for all of it, yet the biography is absorbing and poetic because it's so magnificently written.
For revelations, Little Gloria, Happy At Last is a blockbuster.
The Letters Of Nancy Mitford is terrific because the revelatory footnotes are an absolute scream e.g. the 'rhinocerousness' character of Elsa Maxwell. They elevate the art of the biographical footnote to a whole new level.