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My Wicked, Wicked Ways - Longest Selling Autobiography?


TomJH
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Just wondering if anyone might know the name of the longest selling show business autobiography. Errol Flynn's book, originally published in 1960, is still on sale today. That's 52 years of availability, a pretty remarkable record, two years longer than the actor's own life. Flynn always wanted to be a writer, rather than an actor. I think he'd be tickled to know that his book has sold this long, and continues to do so.

 

Does anyone else know of a longer selling show biz autobiography, though, than My Wicked Wicked Ways? Truth is, I have a difficult time even coming up with the names of show business figures (certainly major ones, like Flynn) who even wrote an autobiography before his. Mary Pickford published Sunshine and Shadow in 1955 but I have no idea how long it was in publication.

 

I have a feeling that the swashbuckler's book may have the record.

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It's been a long time since I saw that TV movie version of My Wicked Wicked Ways but I recall thinking it pretty bad. Please don't judge an immensely entertaining (and at times quite poignant) book by that film.

Flynn, the bad boy, opens up in a surprisingly candid fashion about his insecurities and failings, sometimes with a sense of humour. But you can also see that the actor shed quite a few tears when no one was looking, too.

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I read it many years ago and enjoyed it. My favorite part was Flynn telling how, as a child, he tied a piece of fat to a long string, fed it to a goose - it passed, fed it to another - it passed, and another, and another. Then led this gaggle of geese around the farm by a string. What an auspicious beginning for a Hollywood bad boy!!

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And, if I remember correctly, Ray, Flynn got quite the lecture from his father for that stunt which the future actor, I believe, regarded with a certain scientific fascination.

 

It's a good book, possibly even enhanced by the fact that it was ghost written by Earl Conrad. If the actor had been capable of putting the book together himself he might not have opened up as much as he did about his insecurities. His vulnerability on certain pages of that book is quite palpable. Conrad sat with the actor on his Jamaican estate and interviewed him for the book. Friends of the actor say that the book really has Flynn's conversational style.

 

Those sessions with Conrad, though, in which the author probbed at Flynn, are probably the closest that the actor ever came to being psychoanalyzed. I think the book has more depth because of that.

 

No one has addressed my original question, though. Is My Wicked, Wicked Ways the longest selling show business autobiography in history? I strongly suspect that it may be.

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