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Books on celebrities that made you change your mind about them


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Have you ever read an autobiography or biography on a celebrity and afterwards didn't like them as much or you may not have liked them before but had more sympathy toward them after reading about them? A couple of mine:

 

Life is too Short: Mickey Rooney - I always thought of him as a grandfather figure but he comes across as a dirty old man.

 

The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography - Whenever I saw Esther Williams on screen she never came across as being full of herself but she is.

 

 

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Have you ever read an autobiography or biography on a celebrity and afterwards didn't like them as much or you may not have liked them before but had more sympathy toward them after reading about them? A couple of mine:

 

Life is too Short: Mickey Rooney - I always thought of him as a grandfather figure but he comes across as a dirty old man.

 

The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography - Whenever I saw Esther Williams on screen she never came across as being full of herself but she is.

 

Sybil Jason's tell all book. Bogart sure had a way for the director to say CUT!

 

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The Letters of Noel Coward, which includes a lot of biographical information as well as amazing correspondence to and from Sir Noel, are quite revealing.  One thing comes across, related to the television version of Blithe Spirit, which was done in 1956. Noel writes that Lauren Bacall and Mildred Natwick were wonderful to work with and really pleasant people. He further states that Claudette Colbert was really unpleasant to deal with from start to finish, giving him one of the worst experiences of his career.

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I have several books by celebs which gave me a much better look at them than their everyday publicity did.  Farley Granger's book was very revealing, and showed a great sense of humor and ability to see the absurdity of life.  There was a great book by Harold Kennedy, who ran a dinner theater, called "No Pickle, No Performance," which told wonderful anecdotes about the people who played at the theater.  His description of Mae West's appearance alone is worth the price of the book.  I'd recommend this book to anyone (and Granger did, too, saying he gave it to all his friends) who wants to be amused and alerted to the incidental good and bad in performers.  He talks about Jane Cowl, who used to use local actors in addition to her regular troupe, and who found herself on stage with a young man who had been fine in rehearsal, but froze on the night.  He stepped onto the stage and just stood there.  She fed him his line, saying (he was a bandit chief come to abduct her), "Do you want to take me to the mountains?"  He nodded dumbly, and she said, "Well, let's go," and they exited.  According to Kennedy, John Barrymore Jr. was disliked universally and everyone within a mile volunteered to give him the traditional Barrymore kick in the rear before he went on. Jean Parker was adored by everyone for her sweet disposition.  I gave my copy to Milburn "Doc" Stone, and the next time I saw him I asked him if he liked it.  He said, "I'll let you know as soon as I stop laughing."

 

Adela Rogers St. John's book "Love, Laughter and Tears" gives a great insight into early Hollywood, with great stories about Valentino, Bill Powell and Jean Harlow, among others.  Her description of the heart-rending scene between Powell and Harlow at the Hearst Castle left me feeling so sorry for them both.  They were such real people.

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I had responded in the "reading lately" thread that I'm currently reading Shelly Winters' autobiography. I barely know her acting roles, but I never would have thought that I could become completely smitten with anyone from the ACTORS STUDIO. 

 

While she is as pompous as I expected, she's also sincere, funny, sensitive & lusty. Her accounts of life with Marilyn, making movies, dealing with re-writes, crazy directors and fellow pompous actors is amazingly entertaining. Her recounts of Ava Gardner were scathing, but hilarious! She definitely tells things as she sees them.

 

While I knew she was a respected actress and a saucy personality, I never would have predicted how incredibly intelligent & lovable she was. It makes me want to see every performance she's ever done.

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Naw, I've always let the work they did speak for them.  Autobiographies tend to either:  make them appear MORE humble than you thought they were, or---

NOT as humble as you originally thought.

 

And biographies CAN be innaccurate, depending on the sources used, which WE don't know all about, so MOST of them should be read while digesting a grain or two of salt.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I recently read Lee Grant's autobiography "I Said Yes To Everything" and, while I enjoyed the book, Ms. Grant comes off as a narcissistic, spoiled brat with some serious mental issues. Time and time again, she blames everyone but herself for her problems and failures, while congratulating herself for her successes. 

 

Even her claim that the Hollywood Blacklist kept her from being a major star is open to debate as she did indeed name names, with yet another "poor me, I was taken advantage of" excuse.

 

 

Liked the book, did not like the author.

 

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The Immortal Count by Arthur Lennig. After reading how Bela Lugosi treated his wife Lillian, I can't enjoy his films anymore.

 

And....I can't stand books that are written with the sole purpose if outing people. Obviously some of these authors are acting out homosexual fantasies by insisting certain actors and actresses were gay based on heresay.

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I read a book about David Niven called Niv by Graham Lord. Besides being poorly written and the author cribbing a lot of stuff from books Niven himself wrote, the book seemed to want to admire and denigrate the subject at the same time. I couldn't decide if he liked Niven or not, so I took the whole thing with a grain of salt.

 

Reading about Betty Hutton in the other thread on here reminded me that the first time I saw her Private Screenings that I was very touched by how vulnerable she was, but watched it again a couple of years later and thought she came across as someone who couldn't or wouldn't take responsibility for their own contributions to her misfortunes.

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Reading about Betty Hutton in the other thread on here reminded me that the first time I saw her Private Screenings that I was very touched by how vulnerable she was, but watched it again a couple of years later and thought she came across as someone who couldn't or wouldn't take responsibility for their own contributions to her misfortunes. 

 

Man, read HER autobiography...BACKSTAGE YOU CAN HAVE, confirms she's a loony. I love her as a performer, but her recounting of her childhood are so far fetched, she has to be confusing reality with fantasies.

 

And I agree, many star autobiographies come across as "full of themselves" but I bet you kind of have to be that way to succeed in that business.

The autobiography I found most exasperating was Debbie Reynolds' because being a product of her time period & culture, she just gave up everything for her "man". She was victimized time & time again by men in her life. Thank buddha she eventually broke the cycle and it didn't carry over to Carrie's life.

 

And read ANYTHING by Carrie Fisher....she's a gifted writer and wonderful entertaining personality that shines through the pages.

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Reading about Betty Hutton in the other thread on here reminded me that the first time I saw her Private Screenings that I was very touched by how vulnerable she was, but watched it again a couple of years later and thought she came across as someone who couldn't or wouldn't take responsibility for their own contributions to her misfortunes. 

 

Man, read HER autobiography...BACKSTAGE YOU CAN HAVE, confirms she's a loony. I love her as a performer, but her recounting of her childhood are so far fetched, she has to be confusing reality with fantasies.

 

And I agree, many star autobiographies come across as "full of themselves" but I bet you kind of have to be that way to succeed in that business.

The autobiography I found most exasperating was Debbie Reynolds' because being a product of her time period & culture, she just gave up everything for her "man". She was victimized time & time again by men in her life. Thank buddha she eventually broke the cycle and it didn't carry over to Carrie's life.

 

And read ANYTHING by Carrie Fisher....she's a gifted writer and wonderful entertaining personality that shines through the pages.

I did watch Fisher's one woman show, Wishful Drinking, on HBO and she was honest and hilarious. I do love her.

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I read Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke.  I thought it was a really good biography, very interesting, but very sad.  While I knew Judy Garland's life was plagued with substance abuse issues, personal issues, financial issues and everything else in between, I never knew how much she went through.  She was a very talented woman and it's a shame that she always seemed to find herself surrounded with people trying to exploit her.  As far as I can tell from the book, she only seemed to have a few people who genuinely cared about her as a person and not just as someone who can make them money--Vincente Minnelli, Mickey Rooney and Gene Kelly, just to name a few.  Her life was very sad.  Her father's rumored indiscretions with young boys in the local movie theater forced them from their home in Grand Rapids, MN.  Her father died when Judy was still a teenager.  Her mother, perhaps the ultimate stage mother of all time, relentlessly devoted herself to furthering Judy's career.  Judy gets signed by MGM and is immediately given pills to keep her weight down, keep her awake and help her sleep.  Thus starting her lifelong drug dependency.  She was also forced to wear prosthetic disks on her nose and have capped teeth to make herself more attractive.  When she hit puberty and started developing, she had to bind her breasts to make herself look more like a child.  She was very self-conscious of her looks and never felt attractive-- except in her films with Vincente Minnelli.  He took great care to make sure she looked good on screen.  She lived a very sad life and despite what anyone tried to do for her, she was never happy. 

 

Knowing about her personal life, it endeared me more to her film performances.  It's amazing that despite her erratic professionalism and problems, she was able to turn in so many fantastic performances.  From her onscreen image, you would never know what she was going through. 

 

----

I've also read Errol Flynn's My Wicked Wicked Ways and despite some of the unsavory things he admitted to doing, the book just made me love him more.  He was a gifted raconteur.  His book was fantastic.  I couldn't put it down.  I was at the last 10 pages or so and actually dragged out finishing it by reading 1 or 2 pages a day because I didn't want it to end. 

 

---

 

Desi Arnaz' autobiography, A Book, endeared me more to him as well.  His story was very inspiring.  It was a riches to rags to riches story.  He grew up affluent in Cuba.  His father was the mayor.  Until a revolution in the early 30s forced him and his family to Miami.  His father was imprisoned and later released and joined his family in Miami.  Here is the former mayor of Santiago de Cuba living in an unheated warehouse eating beans out of a can and chasing rats out.  Desi, about 15-16 at the time, got a job cleaning out bird cages to help support himself and his family.  His father eventually started a relatively successful business making mosaic fireplace mantels (by buying up broken tile) for wealthy families in Miami.  Desi, who also sang and played guitar, eventually got a job in a septet in a club.  He was discovered by Xavier Cugat, who brought the young Cuban to New York.  This led to him being in a Broadway play, Too Many Girls and he was then brought out to Hollywood to star in the film version, where he met Lucille Ball.  The rest, as they say, was history.  Desi eventually became president of one of the most successful television studios in the 1950s and starred in probably one of the most famous television sitcoms of all time-- I Love Lucy.  His contributions to the television industry as both a performer and producer are horribly underrated.  He was a true television pioneer.  Not too shabby for a Cuban refugee who came to the country with not a dime to his name. 

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The Immortal Count by Arthur Lennig. After reading how Bela Lugosi treated his wife Lillian, I can't enjoy his films anymore.

 

And....I can't stand books that are written with the sole purpose if outing people. Obviously some of these authors are acting out homosexual fantasies by insisting certain actors and actresses were gay based on heresay.

I am also not a fan of books whose main purpose is to "out" someone, or to destroy their reputation/image in the industry.  The books that have sensationalized headlines like: "Now, read the never told before true story about Blah Blah.  Here's a portrait of the real BLAH BLAH."  I just know that these books were written with the sole point of exploiting someone's name to make a buck off the public. 

 

That's why I tend to read autobiographies or highly acclaimed biographies that use reputable sources.  There are a few authors, who have written many celebrity biographies, that I try to avoid because they just write trash.  I don't want to read a book that was written by The National Enquirer

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I read Get HappyThe Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke.

 

I've read numerous books about Judy & found that one to be the very best of the bunch. Clarke's other books are consistently well written and entertaining.

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---

 

Desi Arnaz' autobiography, A Book, endeared me more to him as well.  His story was very inspiring.  It was a riches to rags to riches story.  He grew up affluent in Cuba.  His father was the mayor.  Until a revolution in the early 30s forced him and his family to Miami.  His father was imprisoned and later released and joined his family in Miami.  Here is the former mayor of Santiago de Cuba living in an unheated warehouse eating beans out of a can and chasing rats out.  Desi, about 15-16 at the time, got a job cleaning out bird cages to help support himself and his family.  His father eventually started a relatively successful business making mosaic fireplace mantels (by buying up broken tile) for wealthy families in Miami.  Desi, who also sang and played guitar, eventually got a job in a septet in a club.  He was discovered by Xavier Cugat, who brought the young Cuban to New York.  This led to him being in a Broadway play, Too Many Girls and he was then brought out to Hollywood to star in the film version, where he met Lucille Ball.  The rest, as they say, was history.  Desi eventually became president of one of the most successful television studios in the 1950s and starred in probably one of the most famous television sitcoms of all time-- I Love Lucy.  His contributions to the television industry as both a performer and producer are horribly underrated.  He was a true television pioneer.  Not too shabby for a Cuban refugee who came to the country with not a dime to his name. (don't know why the QUOTE acknowlegement disappeared!)

 

I've never read any books aboud Arnaz or Lucy, but I recall seeing Lucy as a guest on BILL KENNEDY PRESENTS here in Detroit years ago,....she showed up with Gary Morton in tow, and she, with an exasperated/disgusted look on her face, referred to Desi as "A LOSER".  I don't know just HOW she meant that, but as memory serves( or, actually DOESN'T), she didn't mean it in the way one might typically take it to mean.  I think she meant it in the way Desi treated, or MIStreated having fame and clout. Desi was ALSO a guest on Mr. Kennedy's show the previous year.  And was FASCINATING!

 

Now, mySELF, I thought him BRILLIANT to use FILM instead of KINESCOPE to preserve all those 'I Love Lucy" episodes.  actually FILMING them at MAJOR MOTION PICTURE quality levels, and in front of a live audience, which was YEARS before it's time!  TV shows in the 1970's, like  TAXI, HAPPY DAYS, WELCOME BACK KOTTER and all, would BOAST, at each shows beginning, "TAPED( or filmed) before a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE!  As if it were some NEW CONCEPT!

 

 

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I was a bastard when it was something shameful to be, and a latch-key kid.

My babysitter too often was a black & white television set. And my father figures were the old greats that used to play on the Million Dollar Movie of the Week, and on Chick Lambert's Movies Till Dawn.

Back in that day Chick would come on television late at night and try to sell cars for Ralph Williams to all the insomniacs, and kids like me who couldn't afford them anyway.

Chick had a beautiful German Shepherd named Storm that used to sit on the hood of whatever car he was trying to sell. Actually, over the years Chick had more than one "Storm."

I remember the original, and then, when he got to old to hop up on the cars, there was Storm II, first a pup, then indistinguishable from his namesake, Storm I. Anyway, beautiful dogs.

Chick only interrupted at the beginning, midde and end of each movie, as I recall, and the commercials were just long enough to go to the bathroom or a quick snack break, nothing like today's frequency.

 

Anyway, I digress, ...

 

So my father figures at one time or another were Tracy, Cooper, Gable, Flynn, Wayne, Stewart, Fonda, and so on....

These were in their early roles, when they often played heroic, moralistic, sometimes womanizing rascals.

 

I maintained an adoration for these men through to my early adulthood. Refusing to listen to, or believe anything negative someone might say about them.

 

Then, one winter, long ago, I found myself in a really remote location in Alaska. I was alone, and pretty much starved for reading material.

There was a bookshelf in the cabin that was full of old paperbacks that had been bought by the pound from a used bookstore in Anchorage and flown out.

I ended up reading everything on that shelf.

Amidst the variety there were several actor & actress biographies... Actually more sensationalized exposes, than real biographies, but I read them along with the others. And read some things that I wish that I hadn't. However, in an effort to refute some of what I had read, when I later had an opportunity, I began doing a little research.

Too often I not only verified what I had previously read, but uncovered more tarnish than had previously been written.

 

It was pretty hard for me to learn that many of my on-screen hero's, were far less than heroic off-screen. To discover again, that Santa wasn't real. And though I still watched their movies, from that time forward, it was through different eyes.

 

I learned that Tracy, who is still one of my favorites actors, was a very flawed human being, as were the others.

We know about the alcohol, the extramarital affair/s, the drugs and self-abuse that afflicted too many of them.

Those that denied their own children for fear of scandal.

The less than heroic behavior when some were subpoenaed to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) during the Joe McCarthy era.

The "chicken-hawks" who never went to war, themselves, but supported and promoted it for others.

And, sadly, those that went to war as a star, and returned never to recapture their former glory.

Like I said, I still watch and enjoy their movies, but not through the same idealistic eyes that once adored and wanted to be like them as a child.

 

I am glad that they were there for me when I was a boy. Growing up, fatherless, I needed them.

And I guess I am glad that I found out that they were fragile and flawed humans after all, like the rest of us.

Though that was hard for me to learn, it helps me to be less critical with myself when examining my own myriad of imperfections, and allows me to be gentler and more tolerant of others.

It helped me learn to not place persons that I care about on pedestals.

 

On the flip side, I also learned that some of these fragile humans, who just happened to be movie stars, were much stronger, resiliant, courageous, caring and generous, persons than I had previously known. And, yes, they were and still are persons to positively emulate in many ways.

 

So, for good or ill, I have been influenced by these men in both positive and sometimes negative ways. Especially as a child, and growing up, when I used their characters as a model, and often made decisons based on what I thought they would have done.

 

On the positive, I grew up having many fathers. Far from the traditional sense, for sure, but role models that an early Hollywood code allowed, more often than not, to be differentiated as white or black, good or bad. Less grey, less ambivalent, less unsure of what was right and what is wrong.

So it was easier for me then, I think, growing up as a fatherless latchkey child, than it is for the far more numerous fatherless kids growing up today.

 

For that, I am grateful.

 

BTW, For anyone who thinks they might remember Chick and Storm here is a link to his last commercial for Ralph Williams. Some may find it amusing.

 

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I've never read any books aboud Arnaz or Lucy, but I recall seeing Lucy as a guest on BILL KENNEDY PRESENTS here in Detroit years ago,....she showed up with Gary Morton in tow, and she, with an exasperated/disgusted look on her face, referred to Desi as "A LOSER".  I don't know just HOW she meant that, but as memory serves( or, actually DOESN'T), she didn't mean it in the way one might typically take it to mean.  I think she meant it in the way Desi treated, or MIStreated having fame and clout. Desi was ALSO a guest on Mr. Kennedy's show the previous year.  And was FASCINATING!

 

Now, mySELF, I thought him BRILLIANT to use FILM instead of KINESCOPE to preserve all those 'I Love Lucy" episodes.  actually FILMING them at MAJOR MOTION PICTURE quality levels, and in front of a live audience, which was YEARS before it's time!  TV shows in the 1970's, like  TAXI, HAPPY DAYS, WELCOME BACK KOTTER and all, would BOAST, at each shows beginning, "TAPED( or filmed) before a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE!  As if it were some NEW CONCEPT!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

I saw an interview Lucy did, I think with Barbara Walters (also with Gary Morton in tow) and she also referred to Desi as a loser.  I wonder if these interviews were done at the same time?  It made me sad because it was the only interview I'd ever seen where Lucy disparaged Desi.  In other interviews I've seen/read with Lucy, she's regarded Desi as nothing but a genius and gave him most of the credit for her career.  While Lucy was undoubtedly talented, it was Desi who came up with the ideas to let Lucy's gifts shine.  He decided to film I Love Lucy instead of using filming the show live on the East Coast using kinescope and airing a fuzzy version on the West Coast.  Prior to I Love Lucy, this was the custom for television shows.  Desi wanted everyone to see a good copy, not just half of the country.  Desi, knowing that Lucy worked better in front of a live audience, retrofitted a sound-stage to accommodate an audience.  Desi is the one who worked with the writers, producers, directors, everyone.  Without Desi's contributions, Lucy may not have had the career she did.  He is the one who produced the first season of The Lucy Show before retiring. 

 

While Desi definitely had his problems, which he fully admits and takes responsibility for in his autobiography, he always spoke well of Lucy.  In most of Lucy's interviews, she says nothing but nice things about Desi.  There is no doubt that he was the love of her life and she was the love of his.  Unfortunately, they just weren't able to live together.  After Desi's second wife died, Lucy let Desi live in the guest house on her property.  She was the last person he spoke to before passing away in Dec of 1986. 

 

Considering his background, it's amazing that Desi got where he did.  He was an amazing businessman, very intuitive and not afraid to take risks.  Most everything about I Love Lucy was a major risk and it definitely paid off for all involved. 

 

Desi's autobiography is very honest and very entertaining.  I recommend it highly.  If you can find a copy.  I remember seeing a copy of it years ago (like back in the late 90s) for $5 in a used bookstore and was so excited.  I bought it.  I have never seen another copy since.

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I read Get HappyThe Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke.

 

I've read numerous books about Judy & found that one to be the very best of the bunch. Clarke's other books are consistently well written and entertaining.

I really enjoyed that book.  I also found it very well-written and entertaining.  There's nothing more irritating than reading a book and finding constant factual and spelling errors! I like books where the authors have actually spoken with people who had first hand experiences with the subject or someone who has also performed extensive research.  People that just reprint the gossip and scandal are of no interest to me.

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I saw an interview Lucy did, I think with Barbara Walters (also with Gary Morton in tow) and she also referred to Desi as a loser.  I wonder if these interviews were done at the same time?  It made me sad because it was the only interview I'd ever seen where Lucy disparaged Desi. 

 

In the Barbara Walters interview (which is currently available on YouTube), Lucille Ball credited Desi Arnaz with doing the "successful building of a very well-run empire" amidst all the prejudice against him as a Latino, with no one in the industry wanting to give him credit as the one who was doing the building. She said that while he did eventually earn the respect of the industry, after the break-up of his marriage to Lucy everyone seemed to forget about Desi's achievements.

When she was asked to compare Gary Morton, her second husband, to Desi, Lucy replied "He's [Gary Morton] not a loser. I married a loser before. He [Desi Arnaz] could win, win, high, high, high stakes. He could work very hard. He was brilliant. But he had to lose. . .  He had to fail at everything he'd build up. Everything that he'd build, he had to break down. He still claims he's the same way." [Desi was still alive at the time of this interview.]

In comparing her two marriages, Lucy said, "We [she and Gary Morton] have a home that is lived in. We [she and Desi Arnaz] had many houses before, but we didn't have a home that he was ever in." 

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One of the best books I've ever read was "Cagney on Cagney," by Jimmy Cagney.  A beautifully written account of his life from the New York neighborhood that shaped him, his mother, his family of brothers and sister, his attitudes toward his dancing and later his acting, without a shred of self-pity or sadness except where it was warranted.  I loved his story about trying to become a prize fighter, and when he was starting out the door to go do the ten rounds that would win him some prize money, his mother asked, "Do you think you can beat this guy?"  Jim said, "Yes, I do," and she said, "Do you think you can beat me?"  "No, of course not," he said, "and I wouldn't try."  She said, "Well, you're going to have to beat me if you think you're going to go fight anybody."  And that was the end of his fighting career.  He writes touchingly of his mother's death.  Just before she died, she had all the children around her bed, and pointed with her thumb to Jeanne, and then wrapped her fingers around the thumb.  They said, "Yes, Ma, we'll always take care of Jeanne."  And they always did.

 

He wrote skillfully of his encounters with people who would try to bait him into fighting, which was really silly, because he knew how to fight, from the streets on up.  One story he tells is about talking to his brother after a ballgame and having some guy come up and threaten him.  He let the guy run down and then said, "Look how stupid you are.  You're threatening me, and you're standing with your back to a concrete staircase."  Jimmy knew what he was doing every minute.  He made a lot of money and used it well by retiring early and raising Morgan horses. 

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Reading about Betty Hutton in the other thread on here reminded me that the first time I saw her Private Screenings that I was very touched by how vulnerable she was, but watched it again a couple of years later and thought she came across as someone who couldn't or wouldn't take responsibility for their own contributions to her misfortunes. 

 

Man, read HER autobiography...BACKSTAGE YOU CAN HAVE, confirms she's a loony. I love her as a performer, but her recounting of her childhood are so far fetched, she has to be confusing reality with fantasies.

 

And I agree, many star autobiographies come across as "full of themselves" but I bet you kind of have to be that way to succeed in that business.

The autobiography I found most exasperating was Debbie Reynolds' because being a product of her time period & culture, she just gave up everything for her "man". She was victimized time & time again by men in her life. Thank buddha she eventually broke the cycle and it didn't carry over to Carrie's life.

 

And read ANYTHING by Carrie Fisher....she's a gifted writer and wonderful entertaining personality that shines through the pages.

 

 

 

Oh, I believe the tales about Hutton's childhood. I read another book about her (written by someone else) who talked about it as well.........

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I very much enjoyed the book about Errol Flynn written by his pal of 30 years, Buster Wiles.  It corrects a lot of the misconceptions about Flynn, including the ones he perpetuated himself in his book "My Wicked, Wicked Ways," such as the one about Barrymore's body being stolen and put in his house.  Flynn apparently liked having that story put about, even though it never happened, according to this and other sources.  The "arrow" story is also entertaining, since it wasn't Flynn, and it wasn't even Howard Hill, the famous archer, who fired the arrow and split the other one in "Robin Hood."  It was Buster.  The problem with the Howard Hill shot was that while he did it perfectly, it didn't photograph well.  They actually had to rig a line from a building to the target and shoot the arrow down the wire for the final shot.  Anyone could have pulled the trigger on it and made the effect work.  At any rate the book shows Flynn in a different light, and while it makes him a nicer person than I had previously thought, it shows him as the bold adventurer he was.  Flynn's daughter Deidre says it's the one book that reflects her father as he was.  Wiles also corrects a lot of misconceptions about the "rape" trial and what actually happened that night, since he was there.

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I was never a Shirley Temple fan, but I picked up her autobiography, Child Star, out of curosity and found it very entertaining. She definitely wasn't the little angel she so often portrayed in the movies! She was surprisingly frank about herself and career, though I think she may have fudged a little on her attitude towards her father--when she turned 21, she discovered that even though her family had been living the high life for years, her father hadn't bothered to put aside money in a trust fund for her (even though it was required by law) and had basically cheated her out of a pretty substantial pile of cash.  She let it go, probably more becasue it wouldn't have accomplished anything to sue--he didn't actually have the money, having spent it all--instead of the reason she gave--that she didn't want to start a fight with her family. 

 

I always thought she'd have done well as an adult star in the 50's. She was cute and had a pleasingly spunky persona, but I think she was just done with acting and a couple of flops in the late 40's gave her the out she needed to leave show business and try normal life. (Obviously, that didn't really work out for her--normal people don't get to be Ambassadors, but yeah).

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I very much enjoyed the book about Errol Flynn written by his pal of 30 years, Buster Wiles.  It corrects a lot of the misconceptions about Flynn, including the ones he perpetuated himself in his book "My Wicked, Wicked Ways," such as the one about Barrymore's body being stolen and put in his house.  Flynn apparently liked having that story put about, even though it never happened, according to this and other sources.  The "arrow" story is also entertaining, since it wasn't Flynn, and it wasn't even Howard Hill, the famous archer, who fired the arrow and split the other one in "Robin Hood."  It was Buster.  The problem with the Howard Hill shot was that while he did it perfectly, it didn't photograph well.  They actually had to rig a line from a building to the target and shoot the arrow down the wire for the final shot.  Anyone could have pulled the trigger on it and made the effect work.  At any rate the book shows Flynn in a different light, and while it makes him a nicer person than I had previously thought, it shows him as the bold adventurer he was.  Flynn's daughter Deidre says it's the one book that reflects her father as he was.  Wiles also corrects a lot of misconceptions about the "rape" trial and what actually happened that night, since he was there.

I read Buster Wiles' book also.  I actually read it right after I finished reading Errol Flynn's book.  Buster's book was really fun.  He sounds like he was a really great friend to Errol and Errol was to him too.  I loved reading about all the pranks they pulled on people.  All the pranks were harmless and hilarious.  I loved that his story was more of an ode to his friend and not meant to profit off of the notorious rumors surrounding Errol.  He cleared up some erroneous information provided in Flynn's book and corroborated other information--namely, the infamous rape trial.  I'm on Flynn and Wiles' side, from all legitimate accounts I've read, Flynn was set up.  Errol and Buster sound like they would have been a blast to hang out with.  I only wish time travel were a real thing and I could be part of their posse.  I'd definitely not be able to keep up with them in the bar, but I'd love to partake in all the hijinks.   

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I was never a Shirley Temple fan, but I picked up her autobiography, Child Star, out of curosity and found it very entertaining. She definitely wasn't the little angel she so often portrayed in the movies! She was surprisingly frank about herself and career, though I think she may have fudged a little on her attitude towards her father--when she turned 21, she discovered that even though her family had been living the high life for years, her father hadn't bothered to put aside money in a trust fund for her (even though it was required by law) and had basically cheated her out of a pretty substantial pile of cash.  She let it go, probably more becasue it wouldn't have accomplished anything to sue--he didn't actually have the money, having spent it all--instead of the reason she gave--that she didn't want to start a fight with her family. 

 

I always thought she'd have done well as an adult star in the 50's. She was cute and had a pleasingly spunky persona, but I think she was just done with acting and a couple of flops in the late 40's gave her the out she needed to leave show business and try normal life. (Obviously, that didn't really work out for her--normal people don't get to be Ambassadors, but yeah).

 

A friend of mine was in line outside a book store when her first book came out; apparently they ran out of time and she had to leave, even though there were many people waiting.  She came out and went down the line apologizing to everyone who had come there and been disappointed, promising to come back next day and finish up if they didn't mind.  Nobody minded.  He said she was most gracious and very sorry.

 

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