Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hollywood Biographies

Here are a few autobiographies or biographies you may be interested in reading. 

Twitch Upon A Star, The Bewitched Life and Career of Elizabeth Montgomery, by Herbie J. Pilato. Based on Herbie J. Pilato’s exclusive interviews with Elizabeth Montgomery prior to her death in 1995, Twitch Upon A Star includes never-before-published material and commentary from many of those associated with her remarkable life and career before, during, and after Bewitched. Pilato also goes behind the scenes to explore Montgomery’s political activism, including her early advocacy for AIDS sufferers and the peace movement; her support for all minorities, including the gay community and the disabled; and her controversial participation as narrator of the Cover Up feature film documentary and its Oscar-winning sequel, The Panama Deception (both of which chronicled the Iran/Contra scandal of the 1980s). The book also explores Montgomery’s tumultuous relationships with her father, screen legend Robert Montgomery. 

What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life, by Tim Conway with Jane Scovell. In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There’s nothing in the world that Tim would rather do than entertain, and in his first-ever memoir, that’s exactly what he does. From his pranks in small Ohio classrooms to his performances on national television and movies, Tim has been cracking people up for more than seventy years. Long regarded as one of the funniest comedians around, Tim also boasts an inspiring rags-to-riches story. Tim’s journey from life as an only child raised by loving but outrageous parents in small-town Ohio during the Great Depression, to his tour of duty in the Army, which would become training for his later role in McHale’s Navy, to his ascent as a national star and household name. By tracing his early path, this book reveals the origins of many of Tim’s unforgettable characters, from Mr. Tudball and the Oldest Man to Mickey Hart to everyone’s favorite, Dorf. 

This Is Your Captain Speaking, My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life, by Gavin MacLeod, with Mark Dagostino. From McHale's Navy to The Love Boat, Gavin MacLeod's life has taken one incredible turn after another. He had gotten to do what he wanted to do. Be a captain. He has traveled the world. He was been helped by a lot of great people, and been blessed to have touched a lot of other people’s lives. He is so grateful and thankful for that. He had been given an incredible gift of a life, and now he wanted to use it to give back. That’s why he’s sharing his story, the fun parts and even some of the not-so-fun parts, in the hopes that maybe someone will take a nice walk down memory lane with him. Hopefully a very entertaining walk! Gavin’s greatest wish, though, is that whoever reads his story will walk away at the end with a smile. And maybe, just maybe, there’s something to be found in his journey, especially in his journey of faith, that will help give them a little bit of hope. Maybe even change someone’s life for the better. Wouldn’t that be something! 

Johnny Cash, The Life, by Robert Hilburn. Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon whose colorful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age sixty-nine, that resulted in the brave, moving “Hurt” video. Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit on the jukebox; he wanted to use his music to lift people’s spirits and help promote what he felt was the best of the American spirit. 

Simple Dreams, a musical memoir, by Linda Ronstadt. Tracing the timeline of her remarkable life, Linda, whose forty-five year career has encompassed a wide array of musical styles, weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960’s and 70’s. Linda was born into a musical family and her childhood was filled with everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, in this beautifully crafted memoir, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.

Johnny Carson, by Henry Bushkin. From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ‘70’s and ‘80’s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and it’s most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could. From the moment in 1970 when Carson hired Bushkin until the moment eighteen years later when they parted ways, the author witnessed and often took part in a string of escapades that still retain their power to surprise and fascinate us. But this memoir isn’t just dishy. It is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. This book unveils not only the hidden Carson, but also the raucous, star-studded world he ruled. 

There Was A Little Girl, (the real story of my mother and me), by Brooke Shields. Neither Brooke Shields nor the life she’s led has ever been considered ordinary. Her parents divorced when she was five months old and she was primarily raised by her Newark-tough, larger-than-life mother. Brooke began modeling at eleven months old, which launched a career that made Brooke the most famous and recognizable child, and then teen, of her generation. All this success came with her mother at the helm. Teri acted as mother and manager for Brooke. In public life, Teri fiercely protected Brooke from the pitfalls and temptations that derail so many child stars. But in private, Teri was troubled. The bond between Brooke and her mother was impenetrable, shaped by both laughter and tears. When Brooke grew into adulthood, the pair made choices and sacrifices that would affect their relationship forever. Later, when her own daughters were born, Brooke found that her experience as a mother was shaped in every way by the woman who raised her. But despite all the challenges, Brooke was at her mother’s side when he died in 2012. Only Brooke knows the truth, and now, in an honest, open memoir, she shares the story of her journey. 

I Must Say, My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend, by Martin Short. In the engagingly witty, wise and heartfelt memoir, Martin Short tells the tale of how a showbiz-obsessed kid from Canada transformed himself into one of Hollywood’s favorite funnymen, known to his famous peers as the “comedian’s comedian.” He takes the reader on a rich, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking ride through his life and times, from his early years to the all-American comic big time of Saturday Night Live. He also talks about his memorable roles in several movies. He reveals how he created his indelible comedic characters. But there is another side of Short’s life that he has long kept private. He lost his brother and both parents at an early age, and more recently he lost his wife to cancer. He talks about the pain that those losses inflicted and the upbeat life philosophy that has kept him resilient and carried him through. 

by Arlette Dubord, Technical Services Assistant

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