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Robert Wagner and Other Star Biographies

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I just finished the biography Pieces of My Heart by Robert Wagner. It was quite good and the last chapter was very poignant. I have always been a fan of his work ever since I saw Broken Lance many years ago. He is also a very nice man and devoted to his family. Natalie Wood was a favorite of mine, too. Guess I am a sucker for a true love story! I am getting ready to read the new biog by George Hamilton. Has anyone read these books or any other Hollywood biographies that you can recommend?




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I've read the Autobiographies of Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner and I'm more than half-way finished with Maureen O'Hara's. I was already a huge fan of all of these ladies and appreciate them even more so since reading their hand-penned life stories. I'd recommend all three. My next one is Lana Turner's.


I didn't finish Bring on the Empty Horses but what I did read was very entertaining. If David Niven hadn't succeeded in acting and I was his career guidance counselor, I'd have suggested writing full time.

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I highly recommend the Lee Server 's Sam Fuller, Robert Mitchum, and Ava Gardner.

I consider the Gardner biography one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of reading.


I also enjoyed the Maureen O'Hara book. And I read the Tony Curtis excerpt in Vanity Fair.

Pretty juicy stuff for just an excerpt!

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These are all great autobiographies --- well written, informative, and fun to read; Lorna Luft and Tab Hunter are recent, the rest you will need to look for in the library or used book store, as they are older and likely out of print:


*Swanson on Swanson*, Gloria Swanson

*Me and My Shadows*, Lorna Luft (Judy Garland's daughter)

*Shelley, Also Known as Shirley*, and *Shelley II, Middle of My Century*, Shelley Winters

*Lauren Bacall By Myself*, Lauren Bacall

*Tab Hunter Confidential*, Tab Hunter

*Playing the Field*, Mamie van Doren


A really fun, trashy read can be found in *My Face for the World to See* by Liz Renay, who is known today mostly for appearing in John Waters' *Desperate Living*. She was a stripper and "actress" in the 1950's/60's who was the girlfriend of a mobster and went to prison rather than rat him out. If you're the kind of person who laughs through *Valley of the Dolls* and *Showgirls* (like I am), you'll LOVE this book.


The actress Barbara Payton had a turbulent life, which she wrote about in *I Am Not Ashamed*. She appeared in films opposite James Cagney and Gary Cooper, had serious alcohol problems and messy public and private affairs with Franchot Tone and Bob Hope, and ended up a street prostitute who died in her 30's of alcohol poisoning shortly after the book was published. A really sad read. A similar story with a much happier ending is *Father Does Know Best* by Lauren Chapin, the TV actress who played youngest daughter Kathy on *Father Knows Best*; she turned her life around.


Some biographies (as opposed to autobiographies) that I found especially good:

*The Secret Life of Bob Hope* by Arthur Marx

*Judy* by Gerald Clarke and *Judy Garland* by Ann Edwards

*The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson* by Robert Hofler (about Henry Willson, the agent who shaped the careers of Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue, etc.)

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