Entertainment Book Club

Celebrity Biographies- Selections

Hollywood Animal : A Memoir
by Joe Eszterhas (Author)
Hardcover: 752 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.80 x 9.40 x 6.58
Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (January 27, 2004)

He spent his earliest years in refugee camps. He came to America and grew up in Clevelandstealing cars, rolling drunks, battling priests, nearly going to jail. He became the screenwriter of the worldwide hits Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Flashdance. He also wrote the legendary disasters Showgirls and Jade. The rebellion never ended, even as his films went on to gross more than a billion dollars at the box office and he became the most famous or infamous screenwriter in Hollywood. Joe Eszterhas is a complex and paradoxical figure: part outlaw and outsider combined with equal parts romantic and moralist. More than one person has called him the devil He has been referred to as the most reviled man in America. But Time asked, If Shakespeare were alive today, would his name be Joe Eszterhas and he was the first screenwriter picked as one of the movie industrys 100 Most Powerful People. Although he is often accused of sexism and misogyny, his wife is his best friend and equal partner. Considered an apostle of sex and violence, he is a churchgoer who believes in the power of prayer. For many years the ultimate symbol of Hollywood excess, he has moved his family to Ohio and immersed himself in the midwestern lifestyle he so values. Controversial, fearless, extremely talented, and totally unpredictable, the author of the best-selling American Rhapsody and National Book Award nominee Charlie Simpson¯s Apocalypse has surprised us yet again: he has written a memoir like no other. On one level, Hollywood Animal is a shocking and often devastating look inside the movie business. It intimately explores the concept of fame and gives us a never-before-seen look at the famous. Eszterhas reveals the fights, the deals, the extortions, the backstabbing, and the sex, drugs, and rock n roll ll world that is Hollywood. But there are many more levels to this extraordinary work. It is the story of a street kid who survives a life filled with obstacles and pain . . . a chronicle of a love affair that is sensual, glorious, and unending . . . an excruciatingly detailed look at a man facing down the greatest enemy hes ever fought: the cancer inside him . . . and perhaps most important, Hollywood Animal is the heartbreaking story of a father and son that defines the concepts of love and betrayal. This is a book that will shock you and make you laugh, anger you and move you to tears. It is pure Joe Eszterhasa raw, spine-chilling celebration of the human spirit.

Broken Music: A Memoir
by Sting (Author)
Hardcover: 352 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.17 x 8.52 x 5.66
Publisher: Bantam Books; 1st edition (October 27, 2003)

From Amazon.com: Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done. And so Broken Music began to take shape. It is a book about the early part of my life, from childhood through adolescence, right up to the eve of my success with the Police. It is a story very few people know. I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiographical recitation of everything thats ever happened to me. Instead I found myself drawn to exploring specific moments, certain people and relationships, and particular events which still resonate powerfully for me as I try to understand the child I was, and the man I became.

Mr. S : My Life with Frank Sinatra
by George Jacobs (Author), William Stadiem (Author)
Hardcover: 288 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.00 x 9.26 x 6.40
Publisher: HarperEntertainment; (June 3, 2003)

As the right hand of Frank Sinatra from 1953 to 1968, George Jacobs arguably had one of the coolest jobs in the world at the time when Sinatra was the undisputed master of the entertainment universe. Jacobs rose from his humble beginnings in New Orleans to join Sinatra in the mansions of Beverly Hills, the penthouses of Manhattan, the palaces of Europe, the pinnacles of world power. George Jacobs saw it all, did it all. Sinatra took Jacobs with him on the ride of the century, from blacklist Hollywood to gangland Chicago to an emerging Vegas to Camelot, not to mention dolce vita Rome and swinging London. As a member of Sinatra's inner circle, Jacobs drank with Ava Gardner, danced with Marilyn Monroe, massaged John F. Kennedy, golfed with Sam Giancana, and played jazz with the Prince of Monaco while his boss secretly pursued Princess Grace. He also partied with Mia Farrow, but that one cost him his job of a lifetime. Through the ring-a-ding-ding and the stars, royals, politicians, moguls, and mobsters emerged a warm and intimate relationship that reveals a complex Sinatra: vulnerable and arrogant, charismatic and violent, loving and disdainful, confident and painfully self-conscious. Jacobs is no sycophant, but rather a sharp-eyed observer of the highs and lows of his boss's turbulent life. And Mr. S is perhaps the most complete, honest, and intimate portrait of Sinatra ever written. It is an unforgettable trip, and George Jacobs provides a front-and-center seat at the life of an American icon.

Kate Remembered
by A. Scott Berg
Hardcover: 384 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.35 x 8.76 x 5.92
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group; (July 11, 2003)

Published a mere 13 days after the death of Katharine Hepburn, Kate Remembered is best appreciated as a valentine of devoted friendship. It's a moving study of mutual trust and admiration between Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer A. Scott Berg and legendary Hollywood icon Hepburn, who'd established an instant rapport in 1983, beginning a 20-year conversation that blossomed into this enchanting "biographical memoir." As a casual but authoritative survey of Hepburn's career, Berg's book offers little new information to anyone who's read previous Hepburn biographies or Me: Stories of My Life, Hepburn's bestselling 1991 memoir. But the duality of Berg's title reinforces his purpose: "More than my remembrances," writes Berg in his author's note, "this book intends to convey hers." As such, Kate Remembered offers a rare, unvarnished portrait of one of the 20th century's most influential women, achieving a personal intimacy while making the reader feel welcomed in Hepburn's private world of privilege. Although Berg (the acclaimed biographer of legendary editor Max Perkins, producer/mogul Samuel Goldwyn, and aviator Charles Lindbergh) had written all but the final paragraphs by 2001, Hepburn insisted this book remain unpublished until after her death, which came, in quiet dignity at age 96, on June 29, 2003. Given the book's pre-publication secrecy, it's hardly tabloid-worthy, serving instead to correct or clarify details from Hepburn's glory days--especially her long-term affair with Spencer Tracy--while offering choice bits of Hollywood gossip, Hepburn's frequently scathing assessments of other actors, and amusing encounters with such luminaries as Michael Jackson and Warren Beatty (both of whom appear as mock suitors with selfish motivations). It's a brisk read but a substantial one, richly emotional and as dignified as Hepburn herself, whose faults and foibles make her even more appealing than her beloved public persona.

When Hollywood Had a King : The Reign of Lew Wasserman, Who Leveraged Talent into Power and Influence
by Connie Bruck (Author)
Hardcover: 528 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.61 x 9.54 x 6.60
Publisher: Random House; (June 3, 2003)

In When Hollywood Had a King, the distinguished journalist Connie Bruck tells the sweeping story of MCA and its brilliant leader, a man who transformed the entertainment industry? businessman, politician, tactician, and visionary Lew Wasserman. The Music Corporation of America was founded in Chicago in 1924 by Dr. Jules Stein, an ophthalmologist with a gift for booking bands. Twelve years later, Stein moved his operations west to Beverly Hills and hired Lew Wasserman. From his meager beginnings as a movie-theater usher in Cleveland, Wasserman ultimately ascended to the post of president of MCA, and the company became the most powerful force in Hollywood, regarded with a mixture of fear and awe. In his signature black suit and black knit tie, Was-serman took Hollywood by storm. He shifted the balance of power from the studios which had seven-year contractual strangleholds on the stars to the talent, who became profit partners. When an antitrust suit forced MCAs evolution from talent agency to film- and television-production company, it was Wasserman who parlayed the control of a wide variety of entertainment and media products into a new type of Hollywood power base. There was only Washington left to conquer, and conquer it Wasserman did, quietly brokering alliances with Democratic and Republican administrations alike. That Wassermans reach extended from the underworld to the White House only added to his mystique. Among his friends were Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, and gangster Moe Dalitz along with Presidents Johnson, Clinton, and especially Reagan, who enjoyed a particularly close and mutually beneficial relationship with Wasserman. He was equally intimate with Hollywood royalty, from Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart to Steven Spielberg, who began his career at MCA and once described Wassermans eyeglasses as looking like two giant movie screens. The history of MCA is really the history of a revolution. Lew Wasserman ushered in the Hollywood we know today. He is the link between the old-school moguls with their ironclad studio contracts and the new industry defined by multimedia conglomerates, power agents, multimillionaire actors, and profit sharing. In the hands of Connie Bruck, the story of Lew Wassermans rise to power takes on an almost Shakespearean scope. When Hollywood Had a King reveals the industrys greatest untold story: how a stealthy, enterprising power broker became, for a time, Tinseltowns absolute monarch.

Sam Spiegel: The Incredible Life and Times of Hollywood's Most Iconoclastic Producer, the Miracle Worker Who Went from Penniless Refugee to Showbiz Legend, and Made Possible The African Queen, On the Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Lawrence of Arabia
by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni (Author)
Hardcover: 480 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.44 x 9.50 x 6.50
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; (April 9, 2003)

Prior to this meticulously researched biography, legendary producer Sam Spiegel had loomed large in countless Hollywood memoirs, but was rarely the subject of close examination. Praiseworthy for negotiating a maze of apocryphal stories and unverified details, Sam Spiegel solves many of the mysteries resulting from the falsehoods of "Spiegelese," for the renowned producer--whose crowning achievements included The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia--was perhaps the most inventive liar to gain prominence in Hollywood. With a refreshing absence of judgment, this unflinching study portrays Spiegel as a consummate manipulator, hedonist, philanderer, absentee father, sexaholic (a foot fetishist who favored young girls well into his '70s), and globetrotting entertainer of the social elite, "incapable of guilt" and so charming that he could achieve miracles (and numerous faked heart attacks, to disarm his detractors) while producing some of the greatest films of Hollywood's post-Golden era. As a first-time biographer, Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni (a French journalist who worked as an assistant on Spiegel's final film, 1983's Betrayal) fails to plumb the depths of Spiegel's enigmatic character (so effectively hidden behind his luxurious lifestyle), offering little insight into Spiegel's unique combination of intellect and roguish insincerity. She compensates with a journalist's greatest assets: exacting research and seemingly limitless access to Spiegel's surviving contemporaries, from the late Billy Wilder to On the Waterfront director Elia Kazan and many, many others. The result is a fair and balanced portrait of one of Hollywood's classiest scoundrels, a master thief with impeccable taste and an uncanny instinct for cinematic prestige. --Jeff Shannon

The Kid Stays in the Picture
by Robert Evans
Paperback: 480 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.43 x 9.02 x 6.16
Publisher: New Millenium Pr; (July 1, 2002)

The fascinating rise, fall and rise again of legendary producer Robert Evans. This is one life story you'll never forget: a kid actor in New york on radio plays...popularizing "women in pants" at Evan-Picone...being discovered poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel by Norma Shearer...becoming the first actor to ever run a motion picture studio...reviving the moribund Paramount Pictures...overseeing production of Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Odd Couple...marriage to golden girl Ali McGraw and birth of son Joshua...long friendships with Nicholson, Beatty, and Hoffman....disgrace and drugs...the Cotton Club scandal...self-commitment and escape from a mental institution...and an eventual triumphant return to the catbird seat. An extraordinary raconteur, Evans spares no one least of all himself, on this legendary no-holds-barred Hollywood journey.

Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers
by Sean Hepburn Ferrer (Author)
Hardcover: 256 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.94 x 10.46 x 8.14 Publisher: Atria Books; (October 28, 2003)

In an era of Hollywood icons, no star shined brighter than Audrey Hepburn. Her charm, her grace, her frail humanity and, of course, that stunning face delighted moviegoers across the world. On-screen and onstage she dazzled millions as Gigi, Eliza Doolittle and Holly Golightly. But to her son Sean she was simply "Mummy." In the first insider portrait of Audrey Hepburn, Sean Hepburn Ferrer offers an intimate glimpse into the life of Hollywood's most celebrated actress. In this emotional and candid memoir, Sean tells his mother's remarkable story, from her childhood in war-torn Holland to the height of her fame to her autumn years far from the camera and the crush of the paparazzi. It is a rare look at Audrey not from the photographer's lens, but through the eyes of the son who adored her. Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit features nearly three hundred photographs, documents and artwork by Audrey herself, many of which have previously been unavailable. In this unprecedented memoir, Sean Hepburn Ferrer remembers the actress the world adored as only a son can. More than a Hollywood biography, Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit is about the relationship between a son and his mother. Sean introduces us to an Audrey who was as profoundly sad as she was beautiful. Helpless to change the cruelties of the world and powerless against her own insecurities, Audrey was a devoted mother to Sean -- "my best friend," he calls her -- and his brother, Luca. And when they were older, they were proud to see their mother use her fame to help the children of the world who were in need. As the spokeswoman for UNICEF, Audrey brought worldwide attention to the tragic lives of millions of impoverished children.

Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema
by Jeffrey Vance (Author)
Hardcover: 400 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.26 x 12.14 x 9.32
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; (October 1, 2003)

To this day his beloved creation the Tramp remains the most universal representation of humanity in the history of film. Noted film historian and silent-comedy authority Jeffrey Vance has drawn on exhaustive research and interviews with those who knew Chaplin to produce this definitive illustrated account. Composed with full access to the Chaplin family archives, the book chronicles his entire complex life story and his creative process in 500 photographs, many of them rare and recently discovered, newly printed from the original negatives especially for this volume. Describing the appeal of the Tramp, Chaplin wrote: "This fellow is many-sided-a tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure." The description also befits the artist himself, who endured a deprived childhood in late-Victorian London, numerous romances and four marriages, and political persecution during the anticommunist witch hunts, while leaving a legacy of 75 remarkable years of creative accomplishment. This third Abrams book by Jeffrey Vance on silent-film comedians coincides with the major international video/DVD release of newly restored Chaplin films.

Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino
by Emily W. Leider (Author)
Hardcover: 592 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.69 x 9.32 x 6.44
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux; (May 6, 2003)

Tango pirate, gigolo, powder puff, Adonis?all have been used to describe the silent-film icon known as Rudolph Valentino. From his early days as a taxi dancer in New York City to his near apotheosis as the ultimate Hollywood heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino (often to his distress) occupied a space squarely at the center of controversy. In this thoughtful retelling of Valentino¡¯s short and tragic life?the first fully documented biography of the star?Emily W. Leider looks at the Great Lover¡¯s life and legacy, and explores the events and issues that made him emblematic of the Jazz Age. Valentino¡¯s androgynous sexuality was a lightning rod for fiery and contradictory impulses that ran the gamut from swooning adoration to lashing resentment. He was reviled in the press for being too feminine for a man; yet he also brought to the screen the alluring, savage lover who embodied women¡¯s darker, forbidden sexual fantasies. In tandem, Leider explores notions of the outsider in American culture as represented by Valentino¡¯s experience as an immigrant who became a celebrity. As the silver screen¡¯s first dark-skinned romantic hero, Valentino helped to redefine and broaden American masculine ideals, ultimately coming to represent a graceful masculinity that trumped the deeply ingrained status quo of how a man could look and act.

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