Tinseltown

Tinseltown
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Harper Collins
  • Pages : 528
  • Relase : 2014-10-14
  • ISBN : 9780062242228

Tinseltown Book Review:

New York Times Bestseller • Edgar Award winner for Best Fact Crime The Day of the Locust meets The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry. By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America’s new favorite pastime, and one of the nation’s largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies—including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now. In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime—a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate. A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers—and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.

Tinseltown

Tinseltown
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Harper Paperbacks
  • Pages : 512
  • Relase : 2015-10-06
  • ISBN : 0062242199

Tinseltown Book Review:

New York Times Bestseller Edgar Award winner for Best Fact Crime The Day of the Locust meets The Devil in the White City and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in this juicy, untold Hollywood story: an addictive true tale of ambition, scandal, intrigue, murder, and the creation of the modern film industry. By 1920, the movies had suddenly become America’s new favorite pastime, and one of the nation’s largest industries. Never before had a medium possessed such power to influence. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascendency was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies—including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association, a legendary crime that has remained unsolved until now. In a fiendishly involving narrative, bestselling Hollywood chronicler William J. Mann draws on a rich host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of the enigmatic Taylor and the diverse cast that surrounded him—including three beautiful, ambitious actresses; a grasping stage mother; a devoted valet; and a gang of two-bit thugs, any of whom might have fired the fatal bullet. And overseeing this entire landscape of intrigue was Adolph Zukor, the brilliant and ruthless founder of Paramount, locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. Along the way, Mann brings to life Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties: a sparkling yet schizophrenic town filled with party girls, drug dealers, religious zealots, newly-minted legends and starlets already past their prime—a dangerous place where the powerful could still run afoul of the desperate. A true story recreated with the suspense of a novel, Tinseltown is the work of a storyteller at the peak of his powers—and the solution to a crime that has stumped detectives and historians for nearly a century.

Murder in Hollywood

Murder in Hollywood
  • Author : Charles Higham
  • Publisher : Terrace Books
  • Pages : 252
  • Relase : 2006-02-22
  • ISBN : 0299203646

Murder in Hollywood Book Review:

"Charles Higham presents the most plausible and convincing solution to the mystery yet. In the process he paints a vivid portrait of Hollywood in the 1920s - from its major stars to its bisexual sub-culture. The result is an answer to a long-standing mystery and a study of a place and an industry that, as today, let people reinvent themselves."--BOOK JACKET.

Behind the Screen

Behind the Screen
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Viking Adult
  • Pages : 422
  • Relase : 2001
  • ISBN : UOM:39015053162213

Behind the Screen Book Review:

Examines how gay and lesbian actors, directors, producers, and set and costume designers significantly influenced and shaped Hollywood, and describes their working conditions, treatment by studios, and nightlife.

Not Just Evil

Not Just Evil
  • Author : David Wilson
  • Publisher : Diversion Books
  • Pages : 222
  • Relase : 2016-12-06
  • ISBN : 9781682303269

Not Just Evil Book Review:

In 1927, a schoolgirl’s murder leads to a Hollywood manhunt, a bizarre confession, and a landmark trial in this historical true crime. Twelve-year-old Marion Parker was kidnapped from her Los Angeles school by an unknown assailant on December 15, 1927. The killer dropped her off a few days later, fleeing with the ransom money before Marion’s father discovered she had been brutally murdered. When William Edward Hickman was hunted down and charged with the killing, he admitted to all of it, in terrifying detail, but that was only the start. Hickman’s insanity plea was the first of its kind in California, and it led to a national media frenzy. His lawyers argued that their client lived in a fantasy world, inspired by movies and unable to tell right from wrong. In a year when the first talking picture had just been released, the movie industry scrambled to protect itself from ruinous publicity. As scandals threatened the proceedings from the start, the death of a young girl grew into a referendum on the state of America at the birth of mass media culture. Author and private investigator David Wilson captures the maelstrom surrounding Marion Parker’s death in vivid detail. From the crime itself to the manhunt that followed, the unprecedented trial, and its dramatic aftermath, Wilson draws readers into this fascinating true account of the birth of the celebrity criminal.

Deadly Deceit

Deadly Deceit
  • Author : Don Lasseter
  • Publisher : Pinnacle Books
  • Pages : 416
  • Relase : 2011-04-01
  • ISBN : 9780786027910

Deadly Deceit Book Review:

The chilling true crime story of a man willing to do whatever it takes to live life on his lavish terms—including murder his own parents. Gunned Down After years of hard work, Brian and Jeannie Legg had earned a well-deserved life of leisure in their picture-perfect Phoenix mansion. Until their troubled son showed up with a need for cash—and a thirst for murder . . . Two Bodies David Legg was an obsessive control freak and an army deserter. After fathering an illegitimate child, he wooed and wed a trusting young woman—only to destroy his marriage with lies and infidelities. But his deceptions were far from over . . . A Savage Son In June of 1996, Jeannie and Brian were found shot to death, their bodies sitting next to each other on their living room loveseat. Jeannie’s expensive ring and the couple’s credit cards were missing. Meanwhile, David, the prime suspect, was living it up in Hawaii with his fifteen-year-old girlfriend, draining his dead parents’ savings through ATMs. After a long and costly chase this remorseless killer faced a jury of his peers in 2000, and was locked behind bars for life.

Hello, Gorgeous

Hello, Gorgeous
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : HMH
  • Pages : 605
  • Relase : 2012-10-09
  • ISBN : 9780547905860

Hello, Gorgeous Book Review:

“Masterful . . . Many books have been written about Streisand but few, if any, put readers as close to the subject as Mann does” (Miami Herald). A legendary singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker with multiple Academy, Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and even two Peabody awards to her name, Barbara Streisand is a talent like no other. In Hello, Gorgeous, celebrity biographer William J. Mann profiles the Brooklyn-born talent, focusing on her early years, honing her persona at Greenwich Village nightclubs like the Blue Angel and the Bon Soir. Streisand lost her father at an early age and had a rocky relationship with her mother, but her natural abilities and supernatural chutzpah soon earned her the role of a lifetime: a starring role as Fanny Brice in the Broadway musical, Funny Girl. In lush detail, Mann chronicles Streisand’s dizzying ascent from an unknown dreamer into one of the world’s most beloved superstars. “Mann’s meticulous research and insightful analysis go deeper than any previous biography: shedding light on the formative years that shaped Streisand’s persona, debunking some myths . . . and providing a cultural snapshot of the wild and free-spirited era in which Streisand blossomed.” —USA Today

The Biograph Girl

The Biograph Girl
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Open Road Media
  • Pages : 457
  • Relase : 2014-09-30
  • ISBN : 9781497667211

The Biograph Girl Book Review:

Award-winning author William J. Mann blends fact and fiction in this unconventional novel about the nature of celebrity The Biograph Girl is Florence Lawrence, who gets her first big break in vaudeville as a tiny tot who can whistle like a man. By 1910 she’s a legendary movie star, pursued by thousands of rabid fans. Just a few short decades later, she’s all but forgotten, reduced to walk-ons at MGM. In 1938 she kills herself by ingesting a lethal dose of ant paste. Fast-forward fifty-nine years. A 107-year-old woman named Flo Bridgewood is discovered in a Catholic nursing home in Buffalo. Could the feisty chain smoker with the red satin bow in her hair be America’s former sweetheart? Florence Lawrence is dead . . . isn’t she? And if not, then whose body is in her grave? That’s what journalist Richard Sheehan wants to find out as he and his identical twin brother, Ben, a documentary filmmaker, decide to cash in on a decades-old mystery. Sharing the stage is Flo herself, whose story is the stuff of Hollywood fantasy. A provocative melding of fact and fiction, The Biograph Girl is about what it means to be a celebrity—then and now.

The Contender

The Contender
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : HarperCollins
  • Pages : 736
  • Relase : 2019-10-15
  • ISBN : 9780062427656

The Contender Book Review:

Entertainment Weekly's BIG FALL BOOKS PREVIEW Selection Best Book of 2019 -- Publisher's Weekly Based on new and revelatory material from Brando’s own private archives, an award-winning film biographer presents a deeply-textured, ambitious, and definitive portrait of the greatest movie actor of the twentieth century, the elusive Marlon Brando, bringing his extraordinarily complex life into view as never before. The most influential movie actor of his era, Marlon Brando changed the way other actors perceived their craft. His approach was natural, honest, and deeply personal, resulting in performances—most notably in A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront—that are without parallel. Brando was heralded as the American Hamlet—the Yank who surpassed British stage royalty Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Ralph Richardson as the standard of greatness in the mid-twentieth century. Brando’s impact on American culture matches his professional significance; he both challenged and codified our ideas of masculinity and sexuality. Brando was also one of the first stars to use his fame as a platform to address social, political, and moral issues, courageously calling out America’s deeply rooted racism. William Mann’s brilliant biography of the Hollywood legend illuminates this culture icon for a new age. Mann astutely argues that Brando was not only a great actor but also a cultural soothsayer, a Cassandra warning us about the challenges to come. Brando’s admonitions against the monetization of nearly every aspect of the culture were prescient. His public protests against racial segregation and discrimination at the height of the Civil Rights movement—getting himself arrested at least once—were criticized as being needlessly provocative. Yet those actions of fifty years ago have become a model many actors follow today. Psychologically astute and masterfully researched, based on new and revelatory material, The Contender explores the star and the man in full, including the childhood traumas that reverberated through his professional and personal life. It is a dazzling biography of our nation’s greatest actor that is sure to become an instant classic. The Contender includes sixteen pages of photographs.

Men Who Love Men

Men Who Love Men
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Kensington Publishing Corp.
  • Pages : 336
  • Relase : 2008-11-01
  • ISBN : 9780758237286

Men Who Love Men Book Review:

For Jeff O'Brien, life has finally fallen into place. He's now a bestselling author, living in Provincetown full-time with Lloyd Griffith, his longtime lover and soon-to-be legal husband. Forty has nothing on Jeff and Lloyd--they're the still-sexy poster boys for settled, contented domesticity. Meanwhile their best friend Henry Weiner, escort-turned-erotic energy worker, wonders if he'll ever find what Jeff and Lloyd have with each other. Thirtysomething, no longer the muscle boy of his twenties, Henry's searching for that one special someone--though he's just about ready to give up when a meeting at Tea Dance changes everything. Enter Luke West. Dangerously young, boyishly handsome, with a seductive charm and a rich fantasy life, Luke tells everyone he's come to P-Town to find himself both personally and as a writer. But his real agenda may possibly be very different--and far less innocent. Once he's worked his way into Jeff, Lloyd, and Henry's lives, Luke find his presence arousing intense feelings in all three men. Now Jeff, Lloyd, and Henry will face their futures alone and together, closing the door on some chapters of their lives while opening others to new love and hope. With Men Who Love Men, William J. Mann tackles the big questions of contemporary gay life, delivering a beautiful, thoughtful book about love, sex, commitment, friendship, and fantasy, about the lives we engineer and the joyful surprises that happen when we least expect them. "Powerful. . .Mann's most mature and ambitious fiction to date. . .a strong, sexy novel that will stand out." --The Lambda Book Report

Kate

Kate
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Henry Holt and Company
  • Pages : 710
  • Relase : 2007-10-30
  • ISBN : 9781429921978

Kate Book Review:

The first major Katharine Hepburn biography independent of her control reveals the smart, complicated, and sophisticated woman behind the image Onscreen she played society girls, Spencer Tracy's sidekick, lionesses in winter. But the best character Katharine Hepburn ever created was Katharine Hepburn: a Connecticut Yankee, outspoken and elegant, she wore pants whatever the occasion and bristled at Hollywood glitter. So captivating was her image that she never seemed less than authentic. But how well did we know her, really? Was there a woman behind the image who was more human, more driven, and ultimately more triumphant because of her vulnerability? William J. Mann—a cultural historian and journalist, a sympathetic admirer but no mere fan—has fashioned an intimate, often revisionist, and truly unique close-up that challenges much of what we think we know about the Great Kate. Previous biographies—mostly products of friends and fans—have recycled the stories she hid behind, taking Hollywood myths at face value. Mann goes deeper, delivering new details from friends and family who have not been previously interviewed and drawing on materials only available since Hepburn's death. With affection, intelligence, and a voluminous knowledge of Hollywood history, Mann shows us how a woman originally considered too special and controversial for fame learned the fine arts of movie stardom and transformed herself into an icon as durable and all-American as the Statue of Liberty.

Scandals of Classic Hollywood

Scandals of Classic Hollywood
  • Author : Anne Helen Petersen
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Pages : 304
  • Relase : 2014-09-30
  • ISBN : 9781101635476

Scandals of Classic Hollywood Book Review:

Celebrity gossip meets history in this compulsively readable collection from Buzzfeed reporter Anne Helen Peterson. This guide to film stars and their deepest secrets is sure to top your list for movie gifts and appeal to fans of classic cinema and hollywood history alike. Believe it or not, America’s fascination with celebrity culture was thriving well before the days of TMZ, Cardi B, Kanye's tweets, and the #metoo allegations that have gripped Hollywood. And the stars of yesteryear? They weren’t always the saints that we make them out to be. BuzzFeed's Anne Helen Petersen, author of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, is here to set the record straight. Pulling little-known gems from the archives of film history, Petersen reveals eyebrow-raising information, including: • The smear campaign against the original It Girl, Clara Bow, started by her best friend • The heartbreaking story of Montgomery Clift’s rapid rise to fame, the car accident that destroyed his face, and the “long suicide” that followed • Fatty Arbuckle's descent from Hollywood royalty, fueled by allegations of a boozy orgy turned violent assault • Why Mae West was arrested and jailed for "indecency charges" • And much more Part biography, part cultural history, these stories cover the stuff that films are made of: love, sex, drugs, illegitimate children, illicit affairs, and botched cover-ups. But it's not all just tawdry gossip in the pages of this book. The stories are all contextualized within the boundaries of film, cultural, political, and gender history, making for a read that will inform as it entertains. Based on Petersen's beloved column on the Hairpin, but featuring 100% new content, Scandals of Classic Hollywood is sensationalism made smart.

Mabel Normand

Mabel Normand
  • Author : Timothy Dean Lefler
  • Publisher : McFarland
  • Pages : 258
  • Relase : 2016-03-23
  • ISBN : 9780786478675

Mabel Normand Book Review:

American silent film star Mabel Normand (1892-1930) appeared in a string of popular movies opposite the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle during the 1910s and 1920s, before dying of tuberculosis at age 37. Her brief but remarkable career, which included director and writer credits as well as heading her own studio and production company, was marred by scandal--police connected her to the unsolved 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor--that defined her legacy. This book highlights Normand's substantial yet long overlooked contributions to film history and popular culture, tracing her life from humble beginnings on Staten Island to the heights of world superstardom.

L.A. Noir

L.A. Noir
  • Author : John Buntin
  • Publisher : Crown
  • Pages : 442
  • Relase : 2010-04-06
  • ISBN : 9780307352088

L.A. Noir Book Review:

Now the TNT Original Series MOB CITY Midcentury Los Angeles. A city sold to the world as "the white spot of America," a land of sunshine and orange groves, wholesome Midwestern values and Hollywood stars, protected by the world’s most famous police force, the Dragnet-era LAPD. Behind this public image lies a hidden world of "pleasure girls" and crooked cops, ruthless newspaper tycoons, corrupt politicians, and East Coast gangsters on the make. Into this underworld came two men—one L.A.’ s most notorious gangster, the other its most famous police chief—each prepared to battle the other for the soul of the city.

The Star Machine

The Star Machine
  • Author : Jeanine Basinger
  • Publisher : Vintage
  • Pages : 610
  • Relase : 2009-01-06
  • ISBN : 9780307388759

The Star Machine Book Review:

From one of our most distinguished film scholars, comes a rich, penetrating, amusing book about the golden age of movies and how the studios worked to manufacture stars. With revelatory insights and delightful asides, Jeanine Basinger shows us how the studio “star machine” worked when it worked, how it failed when it didn't, and how irrelevant it could sometimes be. She gives us case studies focusing on big stars groomed into the system: the “awesomely beautiful” (and disillusioned) Tyrone Power; the seductive, disobedient Lana Turner; and a dazzling cast of others. She anatomizes their careers, showing how their fame happened, and what happened to them as a result. Deeply engrossing, full of energy, wit, and wisdom, The Star Machine is destined to become an classic of the film canon.

Wisecracker

Wisecracker
  • Author : William J. Mann
  • Publisher : Viking Adult
  • Pages : 488
  • Relase : 1998
  • ISBN : UOM:39015040339411

Wisecracker Book Review:

Chronicles the saga of 1930s film star William Haines, his survival in Hollywood's gay subculture, and his rise to fame as a top interior decorator after being blacklisted by the movie industry. 15,000 first printing. First serial, Vanity Fair. Second serial, Architectural Digest.

Famous Players

Famous Players
  • Author : Anonim
  • Publisher : Nbm Publishing Company
  • Pages : 76
  • Relase : 2009
  • ISBN : 1561635553

Famous Players Book Review:

When William Desmond Taylor is found dead of a gunshot wound, the motion picture community cannot believe that Taylor could draw the ire of anyone, let alone a murderer. The ensuing investigation reveals that the well-respected director was not the person he seemed and neither were his friends.

Pickford

Pickford
  • Author : Eileen Whitfield
  • Publisher : University Press of Kentucky
  • Pages : 488
  • Relase : 2007-08-31
  • ISBN : 0813191793

Pickford Book Review:

A comprehensive biography of film's first star traces her rise to fame with the growth of the medium, her influence as a partner in United Artists, her relationship with Douglas Fairbanks, and her struggles later in life. UP.

Wally

Wally
  • Author : David W. Menefee
  • Publisher :
  • Pages : 528
  • Relase : 2011-01
  • ISBN : 1593936230

Wally Book Review:

Wallace Reid still rouses excitement today as Jeff, the blacksmith in D. W. Griffith's famous film, The Birth of a Nation. Audiences thrill to the rip-roaring brawl between Jeff and a band of villainous renegades. The fight was largely real, and many people saw Wally for the first time in that immortal film. They said he became "a star overnight," but he had appeared in more than a hundred films before. In Wally, his story is fully told for the first time. He was "born in a trunk" to an actress mother and a famous playwright father. Wally barely survived the infamous St. Louis cyclone when the storm tore that city apart, but he emerged from the carnage to grow into a popular student, athlete, and early film hero. His handsome looks inspired directors to place him in front of cameras, but his ambitions were to be a writer and director. When director Cecil B. DeMille picked him to appear opposite opera diva Geraldine Farrar in her first films, his aspirations became lost in the dizzying idolatry of worldwide audiences. Wally's popularity soared to a height rivaled only by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, but his pedestal of fame stood on shaky ground. Genuine tragedy fell upon Wally and his film crew when their train derailed in an isolated Sierra Mountain location. His injuries were treated with morphine, and his family and friends watched helpless as he became caught unaware in the deathly grip of the drug. Dorothy Davenport, his wife and a beautiful star in her own right, remained faithfully by his side, while he wrestled with the demons that threatened to take his life. Wally draws from many original sources and major archives to show how he was received in his time and the importance of his role in the development of motion pictures. The entertaining and informative book contains an extensive biographical treatment, a detailed filmography, and more than 200 rare photographs, posters, advertisements, and lobby cards that capture the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Years.

Hollywood Godfather

Hollywood Godfather
  • Author : W. R. Wilkerson
  • Publisher : Chicago Review Press
  • Pages : 352
  • Relase : 2018-09-04
  • ISBN : 9781613736630

Hollywood Godfather Book Review:

This is the definitive biography of the most powerful man in Hollywood during the 1930s, '40s and '50s, the man who founded the Hollywood Reporter and the most storied nightspots of the Sunset Strip, introduced Clark Gable and Lana Turner to the world, invented Las Vegas, brought the Mafia to Hollywood, engineered the shakedown of Hollywood studios by Willie Bioff and his mob-run unions, was possibly involved in the murder of Bugsy Siegel, started the Hollywood blacklist, and helped destroy the studio system. Perhaps nobody in Hollywood history has ever ruined so many careers and done so much damage to the industry as Billy Wilkerson. Yet there has never been a solid biography of the man. Billy's son, William R. Wilkerson III, has done tremendous research on his father, interviewing over decades everyone who knew him best, and portrays him beautifully (and damningly) in this book.