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Favorite Actor Autobiographies


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> She did some audio commentary for the

> McLintock! DVD, too, and I thought she was

> great!


> I will have to get the Collectors' Rio Grande

> on DVD and listen to the audio commentary.


Maureen also provides the audio commentary for " The Black Swan " starring Tyrone Power, Thomas Mitchell, George Sander, and Laird Cregar. She is beautiful in Technicolor.

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Here are two biographies that I just have to recommend heartily to you all because they are so amusing:

GOOD NIGHT, SWEET PRINCE --- THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN BARRYMORE by Gene Fowler. Not only filled with funny anecdotes written by a man who knew the star well, but terribly bittersweet.


And for a belly full of laughs is this bio of Robert Mitchum: BABY, I DON'T CARE by Lee Server. Golly, my neighbors must have thought I had gone nuts I laughed so loud and long over the hysterical stories---especially those directly quoted by Mitchum. One of the slyest wits in H-Town.



After reading the other posts I am going to look for the George Sanders book---he's one of my all time favorites, and I have been looking for a biography of Flynn---NOT the pack of lies that tried to make him out a Nazi spy. I think I read My Wicked, Wicked Ways a loooong time ago, but maybe I should revisit it.


I agree with those who commented on Myrna's autobiography---it's as classy and amusing as the lady herself.


I also liked the way Maureen wrote of her family in her book---I admire people who stick to the their folk and she obviously deeply respected her parents and that's what made her---"herself"!


Miss G

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> A number of reviewers of " Tis Herself" on Amazon

> feel she is self - centered and egotistical. I do not

> feel that way.


I certainly didn't get that impression. When you're dealing with strong people like Ford and Wayne you better be able to handle yourself. I liked her book. After all isn't an autobiography a little self centered anyway?

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> I certainly didn't get that impression. When you're

> dealing with strong people like Ford and Wayne you

> better be able to handle yourself. I liked her book.

> After all isn't an autobiography a little self

> centered anyway?


Well said, Movieman. It would sure seem like it would be difficult for anyone to write a book about themself if they didn't like talking about themself.

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> One of my absolute favorites (so much so, I've

> re-read it several times) is "Harpo Speaks" by the

> wonderfully sweet Harpo Marx. It is a delightful,

> humorous and entertaining book. I highly recommend it.


I remember Harpo's book very well - I read it when it was first published. I'll always remember him with a harp in his bathroom, so that he could get in some practicing, undisturbed, first thing in the morning.


I've already mentioned elsewhere the repulsive self-love fest that is Esther Williams' autobiography. Another memoir I found very disappointing in its ungracious and and self-serving tone was Shirley Temple's "Child Star." After reading it, I didn't like her so much any more.


Both Mia Farrow and Patty Duke, two of my favorite actresses, have written memoirs that I found to be not entirely honest. Hard to explain - it's just an impression I had --you'd have to read them and judge for yourself.


There'a a biography of Richard Burton that I thought was very good - the author is, I think, Simon Callow.


Sid Caesar's autobio, about his rise, fall, and rise again, is very good and inspirational reading.


My all-time favorite, which I've also mentioned before, is the three-volume set of memoirs of John Houseman. Absolutely fascinating - the man was definitely a "doer," and needed those three volumes to tell it all.


By the way, Katharine Hepburn recorded her memoirs "Me" as a book on tape. It's an absolute delight to hear her telling about herself (one of her self-admitted favorite things to do). I wonder if it's still available anywhere. I bought a copy for my daughter, a big KH fan - has it been 10 or 15 years ago now? That tape was the basis for my daughter's excellent KH impression. She still says "Please turn tape," just like the Great Kate, whenever the mood strikes her. Too funny.

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I got Harpo's book a few years ago. I liked it and it is due for a re-read. I remember I waited 25 yrs or so from a glance at it in the Library of Congress until it was finally rereleased. It was a nice day when I found it.




P.S. I'm making progress on L&H. It has picked up steam. More later.

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My Wicked, Wicked Ways was one of the first autobiographies I've

ever read about movie stars, mainly because I prefer well-written and

thoroughly researched biographies, especially those that leave no stone

unturned revealing a motion picture star's life - Gable was stingy, ladies,

and he enjoyed womanizing to the utmost - all ladies had to be on their

guard at all times, and Lombard knew all about what he was about,

believe it!


The autobiography all classic fans need to read is Memoirs of an Amnesiac,

Oscar Levant's revealing story of his own life - it's a classic!


If you haven't followed up on my earlier post about this exceedingly

interesting human being, do yourself a favor and find out how looks can be

very deceiving - Levant was a womanizer of the first order and an intellectual

to boot!!!


If a later post should inquire about biographies of the stars, I've read many

of those and I'll alert you to those you'd want to read.


Have a good one!

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Gloria Swanson's SWANSON ON SWANSON is an excellent epic-type autobiography that I highly recommend. Lillian Gish's THE MOVIES MR GRIFFITH AND ME is pretty good although I prefer her coffeetable book DOROTHY AND LILLIAN GISH. I enjoyed Mary Pickford's SUNSHINE AND SHADOW although it's gets an undeserved rap by later Pickford biographers (most of whom use it extensively) as too sugary.


I read Lana Turner's book and I thought it was good. The Myrna Loy book was very good but I felt her co-author made it a bit too pretentious and I would have liked it a little more down-to-earth.


For a fun trash read, Mamie Van Doren's PLAYING THE FIELD is a real hoot and surprisingly poignant at times.


Doris Day: Her Own Story was one of the very first autobiographies I read as a teenager and I really enjoyed it at the time. I need to reread it sometime. I remember it was a huge best seller in the 1970's.


Joan Fontaine's NO BED OF ROSES is excellent.


Gene Tierney's SELF PORTRAIT was pretty good if a slim volume. Dorothy Lamour's MY SIDE OF THE ROAD was enjoyable but she had the opposite problem of Myrna Loy - I felt her cowriter should have made it more historic. it was a bit too simplistic. Rosalind Russell wrote a charming memoir-type book LIFE IS A BANQUET but not particularly intimate. Mae West's GOODNESS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT was entertaining although surprisingly lacking in humor.

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> Joan Fontaine's NO BED OF ROSES is excellent.


I found it very interesting that in her memoirs Fontaine devoted one brief, dismissive paragraph to her former lover, John Houseman, while Houseman gave her an entire chapter in his book. It's all in how you look at it, I guess.

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The auto's I love best are Lucille Ball's Love, Lucy and Ginger Roger's autobiography. Both were very quick interesting reads. I've read Lucy's numerous times in fact.


Wow, after this thread I have a bunch of books to add to my ever growing list. Now I really want to read Myrna's, Oscar Levant's, and Harpo's really badly.


If we're talking biographies, by the way, I just want to say that my favorite would have to be Little Boy Lost about James Dean and my least favorite is Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming. There are many Marilyn bio's out there....don't get that one if you want to read about her. If you want to read about Aurthur Miller and Elia Kazaan and their love/hate relationship then by all means get that book.

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Well, I guess I've not done it yet in this particular thread, but I am kinda known on this board for pimpin' Errol Flynn's "My Wicked, Wicked Ways".


This is one of the funniest books I have ever read - of any kind. He is HILARIOUS!


Never one to mince words, Flynn takes on life and says exactly what he thinks in this book. He spares no one - not even himself.


But none of it is mean or vicious. It's just HILARIOUS...because the way Flynn took on pretty much any subject was with a joke. Understandably, he took a couple of stabs at ex-wife Lili Damita. And his description of the behavior of Bruce Cabot certainly made me think less of HIM! But other than that, Flynn's whole attitude (with the exception of one VERY grim portion of the book related to his feelings surrounding the rape trial) was one of laughing at life. And WOW, could that man spin a yarn! Some very entertaining stories!


Errol Flynn, for the most part, took very little in life seriously - least of all himself. And this book certainly illustrates that perfectly.


Other autobiographies I've quite enjoyed were Lauren Bacall's and Charlie Chaplin's. Right now, I'm reading "Swanson on Swanson", and it is quite interesting as well.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, pktrekgirl, did you finish Swanson on Swanson? And, if so, what did you think of it? I thoroughly enjoyed it myself.


At our library booksale recently I picked up a copy of Shelley also known as Shirley by Shelley Winters. I read the whole thing in 2 days! I have new respect for her as an actress and a human being. I love the way she describes her various love affairs--"cut to crashing waves, etc" You knew exactly what happened, but without the gory details. Her affair with a then-married Burt Lancaster was heartbreaking to read about. The section on how she got the part in a Place in the Sun was wonderful. Highly recommended!


Sandy K

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