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Books about Entertainment  and Entertainers

Pugwash "Pugwash"
The list author says: "As of this writing, Hollywood is a little over 100 years old as an industry. It's creation and impact on our society has been huge. Its evolution has been swift. Entertainers have taken on a fascination for us. Here are some great books I would like to share:"
Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges: His Life in His Words
Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges: His Life in His Words
"This is a book that made an impression on me.  Preston Sturges directed movies during the 1930's and 1940's.  He did it with gentle irreverence, and his "screwball comedies" became something that was copied into the 1960's.  In his own words, this is his story.  Read it and enjoy."
Elia Kazan: A Life
Elia Kazan: A Life
"This is the best autobiography I have ever read.  Elia Kazan was a brilliant stage director in a career spanning well over fifty years.  He also was an influential independent movie producer and director. Kazan shares his triumphs and bares his soul about his failed choices in his long life.  Here, at age 77, he looks back at his brilliance and his weakness."
The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero
The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero
"Houdini may have been the original American entertainment superstar.  His feats were legendary, original and almost unreproduceable. His story is an amazing one, and aside from the speculation on the enemies toward the end of his life, totally engrossing."
The Lives of John Lennon
The Lives of John Lennon
"John Lennon was the seminal Beatle; the heart and soul of the most popular band of all-time.  He was also a confused and lost man, at many times in his life. This is a thorough and well documented biography that takes the reader far into the life and psyche of the brilliant and tortured artist."
Buster Keaton: Cut To The Chase
Buster Keaton: Cut To The Chase
"Buster Keaton was one of the most brilliant comedians and directors the movies have ever known.  With his innovative and original physical comedy, and his stone face, his movies are a marvel almost 90 years after they were made. Meade's book brings the reader into his world, and creates a better understanding of his art and brilliance."
Lulu In Hollywood: Expanded Edition
Lulu In Hollywood: Expanded Edition
"An autobiography of silent film star Louise Brooks, whose incredible beauty and racy celebrity brought her to the top of the studio caste system. Brooks lived fast, and her downfall was every bit as precipitous as her ascent. Here we see her sharp observation and keen wit, as she writes about her life, and her observations on the industry."
Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee
Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee
"Peggy Lee was the consummate professional vocalist, and had a sound so distinctive and classy, that she worked with some of the greatest big band performers of the 1940's and 1950's.  She broke out as a soloist and was a household name in the entertainment industry.  Her story is captivating, and as a personality, she was one of a kind."
Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx
Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx
"The biography of the iconic comedian.  Groucho was a larger than life figure with a rapier wit and never seen before irreverence.  his movies with his brothers were the by product of hours of work in vaudeville, and a barely controlled mayhem. Groucho had a requiem in TV land and carried a pedestrian concept by virtue of his personality."
The Kid Stays in the Picture
The Kid Stays in the Picture
"This is a feast of a Hollywood Insider story by Robert Evans, who ran Paramount Studios in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Evans was looked after by Sidney Korshak, who was a consigliere for the legitimate mob. He tells of his loves, his drug use (somewhat), and his successes producing huge movie hits."
Tallulah!: The Life and Times of a Leading Lady
Tallulah!: The Life and Times of a Leading Lady
"The biography of the beautiful, unique and wild Southern belle of the screen, Tallulah Bankhead. Tallulah had a career supplemented by an overabundance of alcohol, men, and celebrity, but was one of the most desired starlets of her era."
I Used To Be an Animal, But I'm All Right Now
I Used To Be an Animal, But I'm All Right Now
"Autobiographical sketch of the the British blues singer/rocker Eric Burdon who founded the Animals and later sang with the band War. A Hall of Famer, Burdon tells of coming to the US in the 60's, and finding quick fame and adoration as a pop star."
The Life and Times of R. Crumb: Comments from Contemporaries
The Life and Times of R. Crumb: Comments from Contemporaries
"A fascinating study of a bizarre genius who entertained a warped generation with his demented comic strips.  Crumb's dysfunctionality was later expanded on in a documentary. This book brings to light many interviews, and many illustrations."
I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie
I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie
"Pamela Des Barres was a groupie of some of the monster bands of the 1960's and 1970's and has apparently lived to tell about it. Here, she names names and tells stories about her amazing encounters with sex, drugs and rock n roll."
Ed Wood: Nightmare of Ecstasy (The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr.)
Ed Wood: Nightmare of Ecstasy (The Life and Art of Edward D. Wood, Jr.)
"Ed Wood had some serious strikes against him.  Widely considered the worst director to ever inhabit filmdom, he was also a transvestite. This is his story.  By turns hilarious and sad, Wood was a former GI, trying to navigate Hollywood with his dirty little secret."
Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick
Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick
"Philip K Dick was a prolific author of science fiction, many might argue the greatest ever.  Beyond his writing, which occupied most of his time and thoughts, he was a lonely and displaced person. Brilliance and sadness go tegether in this story, and it makes for interseting reading."
Hollywood Kryptonite, The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman
Hollywood Kryptonite, The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman
"Almost fifty years after his shocking death, the interest in TV Superman-George Reeves continues.  This books takes a look at his career, and his circle of friends and paramours during his final days, and tries to speculate as to whether his death was murder or suicide."
Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life And Times Of Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane
Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life And Times Of Noel Neill, The Original Lois Lane
"Fifty years ago (at this writing) Noel Neill was America's sweetheart, playing Lois Lane in TV's Superman. A woman of astonishing beauty, with a wonderful smile, Neill was a veteran actress, who fell into a prime time spot, even though her paycheck did not reflect it. She reflects back without bitterness here on her story."
The Untold Story: My 20 Years Running the National Enquirer
The Untold Story: My 20 Years Running the National Enquirer
"A very interesting look from the publisher of The National Enquirer at the industry and how he grew his tabloid into a legimate media source and one of the most profitable newspapers on the planet."
The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography
The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography
"In the 1940's and 1950's, Esther Williams was the original water diva.  She was cast in musicals that had replaced dancing with aquatic numbers.  She was a beautiful feminine presence on the screen. She also lived quite a life, and she puts it on paper here.  Some of her choices are hard to stomach, but her tale is an interesting one."
Harpo Speaks!
Harpo Speaks!
"Harpo Marx was a quizzical sprite who ran around the screen doing bizarre and unexpected things without talking. It came as a surprise to read his autobiography and see all the things he had to say.  He led a charmed, and funny life, and earned the adoration of millions of fans."
Light My Fire
Light My Fire
"An insiders look at one time cult and later mainstream singer Jim Morrison and the band "The Doors". Manzarek was the keyboardist for this incredible band of the 1960's and early 1970's, and he tells the full story, drugs, women and all."
Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
"Nick Tosches has been known to sling some esoteric hyperbole, and here he doesn't disappoint. Dean Martin built a career as a comedian, a singer and a lush, but somehow he seemed to stay above the pettiness of Hollywood. From Steubenville to superstardom, it was a fascinating life."
Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film
Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film
"Russ Meyer had a singular vision of cinema, er, make that a double vision. He did it with humor, but also pushed the envelope of decency.  The maker of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and "Super Vixens" is a great target for a biography."
Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy
Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy: The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy
"The chronicle of perhaps the greatest two man comedy tean in cinema history.  Louvish tells the story as a double biography with a shared filmography. This was a big time comedy act in the 1930's and 1940's who got their start during the infancy of Hollywood."
Stanley Kubrick, Director: A Visual Analysis
Stanley Kubrick, Director: A Visual Analysis
"A film by film analysis of the great director of "A Clockwork Orange", "Spartacus", "Lolita" and "Dr. Strangelove" among others. Kubrick was the quintessential "it" director in the 1960's and 1970's.  His movies are legendary."
I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show
I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show
"Mike Douglas was a classy, upbeat and positive beacon as a talk show host in the 1960's and 1970's and secured some of the greatest entertainers of the era in a non-threatening and relaxed atmossphere. He is a terrific reconteur who shares his stories.  They are worth hearing."
The Dark Side of Genius: Life of Alfred Hitchcock
The Dark Side of Genius: Life of Alfred Hitchcock
"Alfred Hitchcock was a household name i=until his death whose movies were regarded as absolute genius.  His portly profile, and sonorous voice were instantaneously recognizable. He was a strange man, who made an indelible mark in cinema."
Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone/a Biography
Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone/a Biography
"The creator of "The Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery" was a man of imagination, drive and talent.  He was also an enigma, who found happiness to be an elusive quest.  An interesting story about one of TV's pioneers."
Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart
Cary Grant: The Lonely Heart
"Cary Grant was the quintessential class act in a movie industry rife with leading men. The book points out that beneath the polished veneer that was Cary Grant lie a jumbled contradiction of insecurity and twisted emotion."
Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett
Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett
"Mack Sennett's Keystone Cops can amaze the viewer with the stunt making, and double the viewer over with laughter even now, nearly 100 years after these films were made. Simon Louvish's book disappoints slightly, but mostly because this is such a rich subject, and there are potentially so many other ways to explore this."
Mae West: It Ain't No Sin
Mae West: It Ain't No Sin
"Mae West was such an outlandish trailblazer, and such a huge personality, that one biography could not fully do her justice.  Louvish tries, and does uncover some of the essence of her over-sized character.  I walked away feeling that there was a lot more to learn about her."
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
"Thorough biography of one of the most visionary and influential men of the last century. A must read for anyone who wants to learn about Disney, and his remarkable success story through the depression and World War II."
Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors
Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors
"An inside look at the great rock band "The Doors" from drummer John Densmorewho was a classically trained musician and became the beat man for a Band that went from cult to mainstream after Jim Morrison's death. A captivating and informative read."
Dean and Me: (A Love Story)
Dean and Me: (A Love Story)
"A tribute by the great Jerry Lewis to his former comedy partner, Dean Martin.  Mostly a biography about Lewis, but aimed at his formative years pairing with Dean Martin on film and on stage."
Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down (Limelight)
Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down (Limelight)
"Another look at one of the true geniuses of cinema and comedy, Buster Keaton.  This book offers some great insight into his childhood, and the family act that moulded him. Takes the reader through the end of his life."
Superman vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon (Cappella Books)
Superman vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon (Cappella Books)
"Insightful look at the Superman franchise, the tragedy that has surrounded it, and how it continues to rise from the ashes. A look into the machinations of Hollywood, and the Producers and studios who control ideas and output."
Speedbumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood
Speedbumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood
"I have always believed that any hetero-male who could not be in love with Teri Garr after watching her amused, knowing smile and beautiful coutenance in comedies like "Young Frankenstien" and "Mr. Mom" has some serious emptiness inside. Turns out Ms. Garr has had some serious matters in her life to contemplate as well, like her battle with MS.  I am glad she shared her story."
Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice
Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice
"Maureen McCormick bares her soul in this book about growing up among the Brady Family and her own family, both somewhat dysfunctional.  Also talks about her wild, rampant youth and settling into a middle age where she has confronted and accepted herself.  A quick, poignant and entertaining read."
Cybill Disobedience
Cybill Disobedience
"The camera has loved Cybill Shephard since she was a cover girl.  She has led an unbridled life, both on and off-screen. This is a revealing look at her, through her own eyes.  A highly enjoyable read!"
Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by his Youngest Child
Lou's on First: The Tragic Life of Hollywood's Greatest Clown Warmly Recounted by his Youngest Child
"There were fewer bigger acts than Abbott and Costello from the mid-1930'S through the early 1950's.  Lou Costello was the comedic half of this great comedy team. His story is told by his youngest daughter and it is told thoroughly and completely."