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Topic: Would like recs on biographies of stars from decades past.

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Subject: Would like recs on biographies of stars from decades past.
Date Posted: 8/9/2007 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2006
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 I'd like to get recommendations for good biographies on stars from the past (say up until the 1970's) - Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Bridget Bardot, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, etc... 

I know there are tons out there, but some are better written than others...anyone have any particular recs?  Only want biographies of female stars, no males LOL


Last Edited on: 8/9/07 6:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/9/2007 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
Posts: 19,611
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I just mailed one out about Natalie Wood..........by Gavin Lambert.....It was very detailed and informative......

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2007
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Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates...but it is more a fictionalized look at Marilyn Monroe’s life, based loosely on reality.

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 10:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 416
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Mommie Dearest is another great choice.

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 23
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One of the best I read was Sophia, about Sophia Loren.   It was great.  She is quite a remarkable woman.  I loaned this one to a friend.  If you would like it, I can see if she still has it and register here on PBS and send it off.

Debbie Reynolds autiobiography was also interesting.  Lot of tidbits there.

Date Posted: 8/10/2007 2:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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Ooo, I LOVE books of this type :) My faves-

The Million Dollar Mermaid- Esther Williams (and NOT just because I have it posted ;) ) Just a well-written, interesting book filled with her fascinating life and a lot on how the studio system worked back then and how female stars were treated.

Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball- published after her death. Sadly very short, but it packs a ton of great info and has a wonderful tone.

The Lady, The Legend, The Truth: Lana by Lana Turner- very "juicy", great Hollywood stories but her taste in men was so terrible I found myself yelling at the book a few times...

Elizabeth Takes Off by Elizabeth Taylor- a great book on how she lost weight and her diet, but it also has tons of info on her career and great pictures. She's a really funny, tough lady and I found myself smiling and laughing out loud a lot reading this :)

Elsa Lanchester, Herself by Elsa Lanchester- not known as a great beauty (she's best known for being the Bride of Frankenstein and being married to actor Charles Laughton) but a fantastic book. She was a wonderful singer, dancer and actress and she is HILARIOUS. She lead a fascinating life and this is a great read.

I LOVE this site, and she has an amazing book section on classic starlets with short reviews here- enjoy and good luck! http://www.miss-vintage.com/library/

Date Posted: 8/10/2007 3:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,138
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'tis Herself - Maureen O'Hara    Very open & honest autobiography. Nothing terribly scandelous revealed but great anecdotes about her life.

Date Posted: 8/10/2007 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2006
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By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall

I read this one years ago but remember enjoying it.

Date Posted: 8/10/2007 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh (widow of the famous aviator, and mother of the infamous Linburgh Baby) It's not a biography but a worthy read.  In fact, I would think any biographies about the Linburgh family would be fascinating.

I read several Lucille Ball biographies years ago..perhaps even an autobiography... I found them fascinating...but it's been so many years I don't remember the titles.

Last Edited on: 8/10/07 2:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/10/2007 5:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2006
Posts: 181
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oooh, I love this topic!

I enjoyed Esther Williams recent autobiography, Million Dollar Mermaid. It was really dishy and had a lot of interesting gossip.

I found Frances Farmer's autobiography Will There Really Be a Morning? Farmer's personal problems cut her career somewhat short, so she's not as well-known today, but apparently she was really big in her day. Her autobiography deals with a period when she was institutionalized.

Simon Callow has done two volumes on Orson Welles (I think he intends to do three volumes total). I've read the first volume and it is fascinating. Callow has obviously done a lot of research and recreates Welles' life minutely.

You might also try director Preston Sturges' autobiography (called Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges). He had a very interesting childhood racketing about Europe with a somewhat irresponsible mother who was a friend of Isadora Duncan's. Sturges' writing style is also very witty.

I'm partway through Bette and Joan by Shaun Considine which is a fabulous comparison of the Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Date Posted: 8/10/2007 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2006
Posts: 730
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Definitely, Kate Remembered by Scott Berg.   Berg became a good friend of Katharine Hepburn in her later years and wrote this bio with her  help and blessings. 

Date Posted: 8/20/2007 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2007
Posts: 40
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At LAST !!! Somebody who likes the "old" movie stars!!!

Check my bookshelf-I have several!

Also, one I can't part with is " The Times We Had" by Marion Davies. You kinda get a "twofer" on this one because of her relationship with William Randolph Hearst. You would be amazed at who regularly came to their parties. Many people came and stayed weeks or months with them at San Simeon.

Date Posted: 8/21/2007 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2006
Posts: 33
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I LOVE biographies and books about "Old Hollywood"!

Clara Bow Runnin' Wild By David Stein is very good. Judy By Gerold Frank is a good one about Judy Garland.

I also highly recomend  Will There Ever Be A Morning By Frances Farmer.

Date Posted: 8/21/2007 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2005
Posts: 44
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I haven't actually read it yet but "Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing" by Lee Server is on its way to me.  It sounds really good.  Also, I read "My Story" by Marilyn Monroe years ago and that was really good.  I think it was just recently re-released.  I love old movie stars too.  I've had a Vivien Leigh biography on my wish list for ages.

Date Posted: 8/23/2007 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,086
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I tend to go with autobiographies. I think the facts are more accurate. I liked GIRL SINGER by Rosemary Clooney, MY PATHS AND DETOURS by Jane Russell and I especially thought LIFE IS A BANQUET by Rosalind Russell was a hoot.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 9:08 AM ET
Member Since: 5/24/2007
Posts: 19
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I just posted for offer a couple of biographies: Rose Kennedy, and the Vanderbilt women - not so much stars as in movies, but celebrities in the modern connotation.  I enjoyed them very much, and there are a few "name dropping" bits of stars given that they rubbed elbows with the Hollywood crowd.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2007
Posts: 50
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The House of Barrymore by Margot Peters is a wonderful biography of John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. I now regret that I listed it, but I put it back on my wish list, so maybe it'll come back to me in the future.


Date Posted: 8/24/2007 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 316
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Tracy and Hepburn was writter by their friend Garson Kanin. He captures how great they were together, how they inspired each other. Notes on Cowardly Lion is a biography of Bert Lahr by his son. Not a tell all like Christina Crawford's book, but he does not pull any punches about his distant and brooding (how like a comedian) but loving dad. Joe Hyams' biography of Bogart is worth reading, since Hyams knew Bogie and Bacall personally. Robert Lewis Taylor's bio of W.C. Fields is a old-timey bio: lots of funny stories, no dirt or scandal or judgements, alcoholism of subject slighted. But worth reading for funny stories, anyway.