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mvozus

What Classic Star Needs A Book Written About Them?

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It's interesting - that book does not come up in a search on Amazon.com. if you type in "Olivia deHavilland".

 

However, I would not buy it in any event. Charles Higham is the author of what is by far the most twisted and hateful books on Errol Flynn out there (Flynn is one of the actors who I collect rare books/1st editions on); a book in which he accuses Flynn of being a Nazi spy, of all things - a charge that is based on no facts whatever and has been successfully refuted by numerous individuals, including all of the legitimate Flynn biographers. And I have no interest in reading anything he has written, because he is, IMO, singularly untrustworthy.

 

I think he wrote a distasteful book about Cary Grant too, IIRC...but I'd have to look that up.

 

I think I'll wait for Olivia's autobiography. *lol*

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Thank you guys so much for the suggestions!!! I just got the new Bette Davis book yesterday, I am excited to read it. I am going to go on ebay to try and find some of these. Thank you again!!

 

~Ash

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New book coming out on Rosalind Russell in the next few months. Go to barnes and nobles web site for more info.

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I very much agree with you on how extremely negative and cruel some authors can be. One decision I made when I began my hobby of researching classic actors is that I would not pay attention to the negative aspects of a book. What I enjoy is the many photos, the movie facts and other tidbits such as family, birthplace, etc. So like you, I think it is unfair when someone uses hearsay or "rumors" and tries to pass them off with fact. Just like a bad scene in a movie, I just "fast forward" what I feel is embellishment and try to get back to the interesting part of the book.

So far, I have enjoyed Katherine Hepburn's books she wrote most of all. What a wonderful life, memory and story teller.

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A woman named Lisa Burks is currently hard at work on a bio of Franchot Tone. She's done an enormous amount of research and also has the cooperation of Tone's family. She maintains an excellent website on him -- www.franchot-tone.com -- a must to visit if you're a fan.

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This is really good news, MissPlum.

 

I am glad someone is writing about him. That is the best news I've received today!

 

I always enjoy him in the films I've seen. Personally, I think he was highly underrated by the studio Powers That Be, because he certainly proved on a number of occasions that he could really carry a part and do a tremendous job.

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched "The Lives of a Bengal Lancer"...and while I ADORE Gary Cooper (in fact, he was the reason I wanted to watch this film), IMO, Franchot Tone really stole the show in that film.

 

What a great job he did!

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Yes, SusannO, I know what you mean. I try to look for the silver lining in every biography I read. And I also do not expect every author to write about my favorite stars in 100% glowing terms, either. Certainly, everyone is entitled to their opinion...and certainly with at least two of the stars I collect books on (Errol Flynn and Charlie Chaplin) there is no shortage of material in their personal lives to make a ton of fodder for the tabloid press.

 

However, what Higham did to Errol Flynn goes well beyond the 'acceptable' (if there is such a thing) level of tabloid journalism. I mean, the cover of Higham's book on Flynn shows a picture of Flynn...with a swastika behind him. Even before you open the text you are face to face with some pretty viscious lies.

 

Not cool.

 

So I have boycotted Higham...AND the horse he rode in on. :D His estate will not get a penny of MY money!

 

Most of the time, I can put up with some pretty mean-spirited stuff. The other day I received a book about Rudolph Valentino (another of the actors I collect books for) that was pretty hostile toward Valentino; a man who by all accounts was a very decent and polite fellow. Who knows what ax this author has to grind with Valentino? Unless it is jealousy...because lord knows, the guy was, by Hollywood standards, relatively (though admittedly not fully) controversy free.

 

This author is pretty mean-spirited...but it comes across as just that - mean spirited petty criticism: Valentino spent his money foolishly, Valentino picked the wrong women, Valentino had a weight problem (don't know where he got this one cus anyone who takes a look at a the special feature on the DVD of "The Sheik" called "The Sheik's Physique" can tell you that there is not a LICK of truth in THAT claim. Good LORD!!! I thought I would hyperventilate. *lol* )

 

But these are all relatively harmless mean-spirited criticisms, and those I can look past and try to find something of interest in a book - be it a new fact, a picture I'd not seen before, etc.

 

But Higham on Flynn is just horrifying. Go after Flynn for being a womanizer? Fine. Fair enough. Go after Flynn for later in his life, becoming a drunk? Fair enough on that one too. But a Nazi spy and traitor to both the U.S. AND Australia? To me, that's a whole different category of sleezebag journalism.

 

Anyway, that's how I feel about it. :)

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I was not aware of the swastika with Flynn but even with a man's faults NO ONE should ever do that to a man's character. And i have not "studied" Flynn but ever biography I see on TV shows an adventurous man full of life. Thank you for the info. because I too, will not stand for cruel books only intended to make the author money.

From what you say, about his men bashing, it can only mean he must question his own manhood!!!

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I meant to tell you, I saw the neatest program on movie star homes. They showed Charlie Chaplin's home. What a wonderful place. His children's rooms were incredible. The door hinges were actually shaped like airplanes. The bathrooms had these little child size tubs. I wish I could remember the program but you would love all the little extras his home had. Once again showing what an imaginative man he was.

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I would like to see a book written about the stars who testified against their fellow actors during the Senator Joseph McCarthy trial of un American activity back in the 50's. Three of the "Big" names were Robert Taylor..Ronald Reagan..and Adolph Menjoue who testified and helped "Blacklist" such stars as Zero Mostel and Howard DaSilva !!

 

TOOMANYNOTES

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In September "SUPERMOB" will be released.It is a book about the careen and activities of Chicago-Los Angeles. lawyer Sid Korshack,allegedly it contains some juicy items concerning Ronnie Reagan,amomg others.Sid.Korshack,whose brother was Chicago City Treasurer,during the 1st Mayor Daley's reign,was considered the Chicago mob's man in Los Angeles.

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Thanks for the tip! I am always interested in any political or mud throwing tactic that advances anyone's acting/political career!

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Too Many Notes,

You might also enjoy reading Hide in Plain Sight: The Hollywood Blacklistees in Film and Television, 1950-2002 by Paul Buhle and David Wagner which outlines the way that individuals coped after being labeled during the McCarthy era. As Kirk Douglas once pointed out in an interview, he wasn't necessarily as brave an individual as claimed when he chose to credit the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo as screenwriter on Spartacus, thus officially and publicly breaking the ban on such individuals in Hollywood. Many of these individuals had worked underground for some time under aliases.

 

As Douglas said, when it was no longer profitable to persecute individuals for having unpopular ideas, (and in some cases, downright wrong opinions, i.e. the Soviet-Nazi Pact prior to WWII), Hollywood would just yawn in the face of political outlaws---especially those with talent and commercial ability.

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Thank You I'll look into that one! Also Woody Allen made a movie in 1976 called "The Front" which took on that exact topic of being used as an alias for those writers who were blacklisted. He uses a lot of the actors ( Zero Mostel for one) and writers who were involved in the McCarthy hearings in his movie. If you never saw this film it will be on TCM at 12:00 A.M. on September 22nd!

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Funny how they like to take pot-shots at Flynn - jeolous cruds!

 

I got a book from the library about 20 years ago - don't know who the author was but he should be 'dealt with' severely. I was so POed! He told all the usual crap and then tried to say that Flynn and Ty Power were lovers, which I totally don't believe, BUT he even had the gall to say that they "broke up" because Flynn liked his sex 'this way' and Power liked his sex 'that way'. Like the guy would know, right??? I was doing a 'tazmanian devil dance' (no reference intended lol) to that one, lemme tell ya. I even get mad, now, 20 years later when I think about it. Until I remind myself of what an idiot the author is/was. :-)

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You know something this might have been the same book that I read that said Flynn ( Now sit down for this one ) once seduced "Truman Capote"! What Garbage!!!

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Oh WOW! I would LOVE to see that documentary. Chaplin has attained near-god-like status with me, and part of the reason why is because while he was certainly a quirky fellow, he was also a creative genius. And sometimes, when you combined the quirky part with the genius part, you got some interesting results.

 

This house seems like it might be one of them.

 

I've seen lots of pictures of the outside of their home, and that big huge lawn and such. But I've not seen many pictures that show the inside of the Chaplin home. Or...at least not the parts of the home you describe here.

 

I'm assuming this would be the home he shared with his last wife, Oona, right? He had kids by another wife, but he had a whole baseball team of 'em with his last wife.

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Well, there are three scumbag journalism smeer-campaign books in the Flynn exhaustive library. They are:

 

Errol Flynn: The Untold Story - Charles Higham (1984) - this is the worst of the lot, and included charges of being a Nazi spy and a homosexual.

 

The Two Lives of Errol Flynn - Michael Freedland (1993)

 

Satan's Angel - David Brent (2005) - although this one is just a rehash of the other two, and uses them as 'sources' to document this ridiculous characterization.

 

Charles Higham's book, the original 'trash the dead celebrity' tomb on Flynn, is so mean-spirited and nasty that one of the legitimate Flynn biographers, Tony Thomas, wrote a second book (in addition to his straight biography) on Flynn called Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was. Thomas had pretty extensive contact with people who actually KNEW Errol Flynn and those around him, and he was not able to uncover one molecule of evidence that positively indicated Errol Flynn was a Nazi spy. In fact, J. Edgar Hoover and the boyz at the FBI kept pretty close tabs on Flynn because they did not approve of his playboyish lifestyle, and even in THEIR files there is no mention of any suspicions that he was a Nazi spy. And those J. Edgar Hoover boyz were pretty thorough. *lol*

 

There are about 25 books out there by and about Errol Flynn, however, and outside of these three, the rest are pretty fair. The man was no angel. But he was certainly not satan incarnate either. *lol*

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Would love to see a book to honor Jean Harlow . Next year is her 96th birthday . Plus it has been 70 years since her passing. It would just be nice to see a book of photos to honor her life and legend. It has been a few years since any books have been written on her. It would be great just a have a book of photos like the one on Greta Garbo by Mark Vieira. Lets hope someone will honor the Platinum Blonde with some kind of book.

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Errol Flynn: The Untold Story - Charles Higham (1984) - this is the worst of the lot, and included charges of being a Nazi spy and a homosexual.

 

Yep, I think that's the one, alright. Rings a bell mighty loud.

 

 

Toomanynotes - Truman Capote? - that proves the guy had a loose screw someplace! Can you just get a mental picture of that? ;)

 

 

Scarlett

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> I thought there was another from the 1970's with

> "King" in the title, but I can't seem to find it...

> >>

>

> It's either "The King" or "The King of Hollywood". I

> have it but it is in boxes packed away. But I know I

> have it and I read it.

 

It's Long Live the King by Lyn Tornabene, published in 1976. It is well-written, but tends to be a bit worshipful in tone. I prefer the more recent Clark Gable by Warren G. Harris. Harris's book is more thorough and more objective. Either book is a great read, though.

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this will be a bit off topic, but i want to ask about any requests on good biographies/autobiographies on actors.

 

i love actors like katharine hepburn, claudette colbert, cary grant, audrey hepburn, erroll flynn, fred astaire, and many others but i'm getting too tired to write anymore names haha.

 

if you guys have any suggestions, i'd appreciate it

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What I am upset about (as far as autobiographies go) is that Gene Kelly's autobiography has not been released to the public yet! I have read that his widow is preventing it from being published or it might be the publishing company. I wish there was something we could do to let them know that some of us are very interested in reading it!

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And ps ithrowclams:

 

Groucho Marx, Ginger Rogers, Frank Capra, Lucille Ball all wrote very interesting autobiographies.

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I thought I read somewhere (I may be totally wrong) that his autobiography was lost in a fire? And I thought his widow was writing a bio of him herself.

 

One fascinating book that tells you a lot about him is his first wife Betsy Blair's The Memory of All That.

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