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Bette_Davis_Wannabe

Do read autobiographies or biographies?

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I find it fascinating to read autobiographies or biographies of classic movie stars. It really helps to get to know the actor/actress/director/ etc. Autobiographies are especially intresting, I think, because you can hear the story straight from the source.

Some of my favorites are Me by Katharine Hepburn, Doris Day: Her Own Story by A.E. Hotchner ( she dictated it), 'Tis Herself by Maureen O'Hara, My Story by Ginger Rogers, By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall, etc...

One of the most amusing ones I've read was Life is Too Short by Mickey Rooney. I'm pretty positive that not all of it was true ( He claimed that Walt Disney named Mickey the Mouse after him) however it was entertaining.

How about all of my fellow movie lovers? Do you read these kinds of books?

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. Some of my favorites are Me by Katharine Hepburn, Doris Day: Her Own Story by A.E. Hotchner ( she dictated it), 'Tis Herself by Maureen O'Hara, My Story by Ginger Rogers, By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall, etc...

One of the most amusing ones I've read was Life is Too Short by Mickey Rooney. I'm pretty positive that not all of it was true ( He claimed that Walt Disney named Mickey the Mouse after him) however it was entertaining.

How about all of my fellow movie lovers? Do you read these kinds of books?

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I would agree that biographies and autobiographies of film actors, actresses, directors, etc., are fascinating. My only issue with them (mostly biographies) is that sometimes the author will take liberties with the truth and present a confusing and/or dishonest picture of the subject.

Some really excellent autobiographies I have read would include Goodness Had Nothing to do With it (Mae West), My Wicked, Wicked Ways (Errol Flynn), Swanson on Swanson (Gloria Swanson), Ava (Ava Gardener), Lana: The Lady, The Legend, The Truth (Lana Turner), and Lulu in Hollywood (Louise Brooks-- not necessarily a typical autobiography, but a good read none the less).

I'm curious if anyone here has read Will There Ever Be a Morning, which was marketed as the "autobiography" of Frances Farmer. The book is truly horrific is describing Ms. Farmer's experiences, and I was rather dismayed after reading it to find that the ghost writer was accused of embellishing and all out fabricating stories to make the work more sensational. Does anyone have any thoughts on this, and, can anyone offer any information on an accurate biography of Frances Farmer?

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for insightful books about Hollywood, whether they be about film stars or directors or simply about films in general?

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I love to read all the behind the scenes gossip and all the feuding the classic stars did on set, on the lot, at Hollywood parties, etc. Another good thing is reading the star's autobio/bio really gets me interested in certain movies of their's that i will make an effort to watch or buy.

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The one that I thought strayed from the truth was Mickey Rooney's autobiography "Life is Too Short." He went as far as to claim that Walt Disney had named Mickey Mouse after him!

 

Also, when I look for books about Hollywood I pay close attention to who wrote it and what their bibliography looks like. If the author has worked for another credible source (i.e. newspaper, magazine, other companies) then most likely thier facts will be true. Amazon.com usually has good reviews written by people who have already read the books too, so that is another way to be sure the book is a good one.

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yes i do!!

 

i love bios and autos!!

 

i have read:

greer garson's bio

gary cooper's bio, like three or four

bette davis' bio

cary grant's bio

ann miller's auto

june allyson's auto

kate hepburn's auto, and a bio

barbra streisand's bio

loretta young's bio, and her daughter's auto

angela lansbury's bio

julie andrews' bio

john and abigail bio

laura bush bio

nancy and ronald reagan bio

marie curie's bio, almost every single one of those

kerri strug's auto

errol flyyn's auto

judy garlands' bio

alice paul's bio

jackie chan's bio

ester williams auto

rue maclanahan's auto

lauren bacall's auto

betty grable's bio

audrey hepburn's bio

shirley temple's bio

gregory peck's bio

 

i have read more but ti cant think of them, im sure theyll pop up later. heehee! i wanna read more!!

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I haunt the library's "791" section all the time and have read everybody.

I've been waiting to post a very funny bit abt Ann Miller. I can't recall whose autobio this was from, June, Esther, Jane Powell, or ? Anyway, seems they were all on a plane (overnight flight) to some place and Annie was all upset the next morning because she couldn't find what she called her "flop chickies." What were her flop chickies? Her "bust pads".....

Also I recently read Janet Leigh's book "There Really Was a Hollywood" in which she describes meeting Bogart at a party and (this was in the early 50's) he was wearing one earring. No one would bat an eyelash at such a thing now days of course, but she was a bit surprised back then. He told her that no, he wasn't a "funny" guy or anything, just liked to wear an earring.

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>He told her that no, he wasn't a "funny" guy or anything, just liked to wear an earring.

 

That's a great story. Bogie was a trendsetter and he didn't even know it!

 

I tend to read both autobiographies and biographies on actors, actresses and directors. The best autobiography I've ever read was Joseph Cotten's "Vanity Will Get You Somewhere". It was funny, honest and there was no ghostwriter involved, which I thought was nice.

 

I also like those books that will tell you about a whole studio. I just recently got a book on MGM's Freed Unit and it's fantastic. It's like a biography on musicals and filled with all sorts of information. Lovely.

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I just today got "Contract Player", which is basically a series of interviews Mae Clarke gave right before her death {last interview, less than two weeks before) in the early nineties.

I recently became fascinated at her "sudden disappearance" right at the start of what at least looked like a promising career. Despite her minimizing, it sure looks like "manic depression", at the very least.

Universal literally canceled her contract in 1932 (with 4 years to go on it} due to illness.

She does appear vibrant, witty, and hopeful though. She still had spirit, knowledge, and a VERY GOOD MEMORY.

Doesn't really slander anyone badly.....a couple of mild swipes here and there, but nothing classless.

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"The Lion of MGM" by Scott Eyman about L.B. Mayer. Be prepared to have myths shattered.

 

"Print the Legend" also by Scott Eyman on the life and films of John Ford.

 

"Get Happy" by Gerald Clarke on the life of Judy Garland

 

"Original Story" by Arthur Laurents

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I did go down the library with a list of 100 or so & I came home with 20. The best by far was the 2nd autobiography by Anthony Quinn. His first one was a mess & in my opinion it bothered him so he wrote another one & really searched his soul. There are so many good stories in it. Please get the 2nd Anthony Quinn book. Tell em I sent cha.

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Right after I posted this thread I went to my English class and my prof. walked by and asked my what I was reading and I showed her, it was a biography of Barbara Stanwyck, and she says

"Oh, was she an actress?" I just looked at her dumbfounded. She's gotta be at least 47 and she doesn't know who Barbara Stanwyck was! That was really sad. Maybe she should read it.

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Wow! I find that almost laughable -in a sad way- didn't know Barbara Stanwyck. I know I don't know that many classic stars, but- golly, gee, Wally- that's pretty sad. Maybe you could suggest TCM to her.

 

Anyway, The last autobiography of a star that I have read: "Yes, I Can: The Sammy Davis Jr. Story."

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Sugarpuss,

What's the name of the book on MGM musicals?

 

Also to poster abt Barbara Stanywyck - I remember remarking abt how much a priest who was called upon to comfort patients in an ICU looked like Spencer Tracy, and he did! Well, the woman who I made the remark to said who was Spencer Tracy? OY!

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The reading of bios and autobiographies is essential to any history buff, and I can't see how a true lover of classic films cannot help but be a history buff!

 

A lifetime spent collecting old books and poking around in used book stores has convinced me that the motion picture business has left a huge mark in the publishing world. There are so many bios out there to read and collect, that it is mind-boggling. I would hope that those reading here will go to their local used bookstores and check out the film section- you may be pleasantly surprised to find what is there! Keep in mind that a lot of the good stuff is long out of print. Web sites like www.abebooks.com are very good for finding juicy collectibles. Very highly collectible and potentially valuable are autobiographies of famous classic film people written in the 20's and 30's, especially if these still have their original paper dust jacket. (First editions of Mae West's novels, with jacket, can fetch $1500!) I once retrieved a 1928 autobio of a silent movie starlet, with paper jacket, from a free book bin. It is worth about $500! Lot of very valuable things get thrown away by people who have no culture or clue.

 

Some of my favs:

 

Mae West's "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It". In it, she tells us that around the 1910's, HALF of the adult women in Manhattan were carrying concealed knives and pistols for self defence!

 

"Hollywood Through The Back Door"(1935)- fascinating story written by a wannabe film writer. He didn't make it into the movies, but found a 10 cent taxi dancer (another wannabe) and fell in love with her. Fascinating glimpse of the business and LA in those days.

 

Lillian Roth's "I'll Cry Tomorrow" and "Beyond My Worth", detailing her descent into alcoholism and recovery. Made me cry.

 

The autobiographies of Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Groucho Marx. Gloria Swanson's "Swanson On Swanson" The bio of Dietrich written by her daughter. Jane Russell's auto.

 

Don't forget the studio brass too! Adolph Zukor's auto, Cecil B DeMille's auto etc.

 

There is a lot to read and collect. Most of it is very worthwhile. And don't be a sap- DON"T THROW AWAY ANTIQUE BOOKS! Old Hollywood "sells" in the book trade, and some of it appreciates much more nicely than the stock market!

 

Thelma

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