Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stars and Books

I usually keep the image heavy and classic Hollywood posts for my other blog, but I found an adorable picture of Jean Harlow reading a book today and felt compelled to look for other similar pictures of my favorite classic stars. I also wanted to link to some great biographies about them, which really makes this sort of post more appropriate for this blog. So, here you go:

The aforementioned Jean Harlow shot. Just like Marilyn Monroe after her, she was way smarter than many people gave her credit for.

Grace Kelly. This is a shot from Rear Window (immediately after this shot, she whips out a Bazaar magazine and reads that instead).

Clara Bow. Don't read any of that Hollywood Babylon crap about her—read David Stenn's biography of her instead! She was an amazingly talented actress who had to overcome so much.

Norma Shearer. Another great book that deals a lot with Norma is Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood by Mick LaSalle—an incredible read!

Clark Gable—awww, he's reading one of my favorite books ever (and obviously preparing to be Rhett Butler). Admittedly, I have yet to read a Gable biography, so I feel funny recommending one. And most of the Gable biographies have such terrible reviews, so I'm just linking to the Clark Gable paper dolls—I loves me some Tom Tierney!

Margaret Mitchell. I had to follow up that picture of Clark Gable with this one! I have yet to read her biography, but I own it, so it's definitely on my "plan to read" list.

Vivien Leigh. Well, while we're on a Gone With the Wind roll... I haven't read her biography either, but this one got good reviews and the cover photograph is stunning!

Olivia de Havilland. Let's just complete the Gone With the Wind portion of this post with the lovely Melanie. I have yet to read a biography for her and I suspect there might be some trashiness to the books about her and Errol Flynn and her and her sister, so I'll just link to a book about her films.

Joan Fontaine. Speaking of Oliva de Havilland's a shot from Suspicion. I haven't read her autobiography, but I bet it's riveting!

Barbara Stanwyck. This shot is from Stella Dallas. I have read this biography by Al DiOrio, but it was written before she died. I'd like to read another, more recent biography some time and get the full story on this most amazing actress!

Joan Crawford. No, I have not read Mommie Dearest (although I have seen the movie) and I don't plan to. There's another Joan Crawford biography that recently came out, Possessed, and I really want to read it!

James Cagney. That man could sing and dance even better than he could play a gangster. I'd really like to read his autobiography!

Greta Garbo. I'd like to read other Garbo biographies to compare them to Barry Paris'—that one kind of left me depressed. But then again, Garbo didn't exactly have the most uplifting and happiest of lives. She's still as fascinating and glamorous as you can get!

Louise Brooks. Okay, so technically she's not the one reading in this picture. And man, does she look bored. In fact, so bored, she'd rather eat a donut.

Audrey Hepburn. Wow, there a LOT of pictures of Audrey Hepburn reading, but this is by far the coolest. I haven't read any of her biographies either, but this one by her son seems like it would be pretty cool.

Bette Davis. Seriously. This is an amazingly cute picture. Sadly, I haven't read any of her biographies either, so I'm linking to her autobiography.

Cary Grant. Sigh—yet another of my favorite actors that I haven't read about. Many of his biographies have good reviews, but I chose to link to a book about his style, because, c'mon, look at his style!!

Dean Martin. Ha! That's all I can say about this picture. Perhaps I should read his daughter's biography of him and see what it was like growing up with this guy!

F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would be remiss if I didn't include my favorite author ever. Not sure if he counts as a "star", but he was famous in his own day, so I think so. If you are a Fitzgerald fan and you haven't checked out The Romantic Egoists, you need to—SO amazing! An incredible peek into his private and professional life.

Gary Cooper. He had love affairs with my two favorite actresses ever, Grace Kelly and Clara Bow, so who knows why I haven't read any of his biographies. Perhaps this one by his daughter isn't the one to spill the beans about his romances, but it sure looks good! Oh, and how cute are pictures of stars reading the books their movies are based on (like that Clark Gable one)?!

Gloria Swanson. Look—they just happened to catch Gloria reading in her library, looking very pensive. I so need to read her autobiography!

Humphrey Bogart. Wow, another shot of an actor reading the book his movie is based on. Why is it always the men? Another star I haven't read about—probably because I've only seen his 30s movies and I'm sure most books would deal more with his later movies, life, and love with Lauren Bacall. This book about his films seems like it would be the most interesting to me.

Jeanne Moreau. I love French movies and I love Jeanne Moreau! Perhaps I should check out this biography of hers and write a review on it.

James Stewart (and Valerie Varda). There were some adorable pictures of Jimmy reading magazines, but I tried to stick to book pictures only, which is why I ended up with this shot from Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. I haven't read any of Jimmy's biographies, but I have read his book of poems. And they're really cute.

Una Merkel. I was unable to find any books about Una Merkel. Sad face. But she is mentioned in Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood by Mick LaSalle and Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood by Mark A. Vieira, both incredible reads with gorgeous pictures.

Walt Disney. Sweet Lord do I love this man. I started to read Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler, but found it too bogged down with facts and figures that I wasn't interested in—I wanted to know about the man himself—so I stopped reading it. Next up on my list is this one by Michael Barrier.

Unless otherwise noted, I have read the books I linked to and would recommend them to anyone interested in these stars or in classic Hollywood in general!

I leave you with a shot of my cat, Scarlett, who would really rather I pay attention to her than read:

(and yes, she is named after the character in Gone With the Wind—as is her sister, Melanie)

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