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Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip Paperback – August 28, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Acclaimed internationally for his literary fiction, his hard-boiled true crime books and Hollywood memoirs, John Gilmore has a following that spans the globe from London to Tokyo, from Hong Kong to Hollywood. "John Gilmore is the quintessential L.A. noir writer..." Sydney Morning Herald.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Amok Books; 1st edition (August 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878923080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878923080
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as "the quintessential L.A. noir writer," John Gilmore has been acclaimed internationally for his hard-boiled true crime books, his Hollywood memoirs and his biting, literary fiction. He is considered one of today's most controversial American authors, with a following that spans the globe from Tokyo, Paris and London, to his native Hollywood where he was friends with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He traveled the road to fame in many guises before turning to writing: kid magician, painter, poet, actor in films, TV, and the New York stage, then screen-writer, B-movie director into a "bang 'em out alive," nine-day novelist. "Few like to look back at how they kept the pot boiling," Gilmore says. "For me it was an education--a turning point from frantic to be a movie star, to just letting the dog out of the cage."
After heading the writing program at Antioch's west coast university, Gilmore traveled and lectured extensively while creating an indelible mark in crime literature with Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia, described by Colin Wilson as "The best book on the Black Dahlia--in fact, the only readable book." After years of "being on the road," as he puts it, three times married, three times divorced and now single, he resides in the Hollywood Hills, expanding his body of work with a "lengthy, peculiar" novel, plus another unusual exploration into true-crime.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read this book twice and each time I feel like I'm entering a time warp. I'm being transported back into the 1950's, the 1960's. I lived in Los Angeles during those years and this has captured every naunce that is LA in all its dubious glory. John Gilmore has seen the shadows and the spotlights as well. The book takes you all over, from Hollywood to New York, Paris, even Cairo, Egypt. I especially was drawn into Gilmore's relationship with the late actress Jean Seberg, who I always admired. He shows her as she has never been shown. At times this book is very strange, and very engrossing (see Janis Joplin, Jane Fonda, Brigitte Bardot... Gilmore has 'kissed' them all and gives us the dish). A tale of remarkable originality. Super highly recommened, and I can hardly wait for his next tome.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Keith George on June 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
The story in this book defies credibility. What are the odds that one person could get to hang with Errol Flynn, Dennis Hopper, and Sal Mineo, get drunk with Hank Williams and high with Lenny Bruce, talk about writing with Ed Wood, Jr., become cuckolded by Steve McQueen, have sex with Jane Fonda, Brigette Bardot, Janis Joplin,and James Dean AND be able to write like this?
Well, even if it isn't all true-- and I like to think it is, because there's very little here that's self-serving, and Gilmore rarely spares himself-- LAID BARE delivers much more than anyone has a right to expect from any one book. Reading it was like reading TROPIC OF CANCER for the first time, only the characters are Jack Nicholson, Roddy McDowell, James Dean, Jean Seberg, and so on. This is much more than Hollywood gossip. This is the human tragedy that we read gossip in order to infer, exposed completely by a master writer. Gilmore's prose is direct, honest, and muscular. His mastery of detail is astonishing, so much that the details might be a little too thick if this were a novel. However, when he writes about Janis Joplin-- her manner, her way of dressing, her scent-- the importance of his subject, the fact that she really did live, and the devestating fact that she is gone forever make every remebered detail precious, and Gilmore treats each of them with appropriate care.
So why isn't John Gilmore famous? From reading LAID BARE, I think the answer may be that he doesn't care about fame-- and that may be the reason why he survived so much insanity, to tell of so many who did not. I can't wait to read this book again, and to read anything by John Gilmore that I can get my hands on.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Richard King on February 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Or should I say Slide Side! I have never read a book about the "bad" "slide" "dark" side of Hollywood that comes anywhere near close to the REAL flip-side picture of behind-the-camera Hollywood as this one. John Gilmore is a teriffic writer who takes us through this myriad of real-life characters whose names we all know as well as our box of corn flakes. He opens up the lives and heads he writes about and allows us to see what makes them tick, drink, shoot up, bed-hop, turn upside down and inside out and fall from Heaven or kill themselves. All this through Gilmore's personal experiences, living alongside these individuals, sharing some of their good times as well as the tragic and pitiful times; James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, William S. Burroughs, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Lenny Bruce, Jim Morrison of the Doors, Jean Seberg, Sal Mineo--the list goes on; people Gilmore has worked with, known, slept with, done drugs with (Gilmore's good ex-friend Dennis Hopper appears in one of the most detailed, tragic portraits of a life on the Hollywood down side); Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, etc., etc. This is the Hollywood/New York Bright White Way 1950's 1960's Broadway scene told with relentless vision and insight. Not one of those books that promises dish but doesnt deliver. Gilmore DELIVERS and you get seconds on dessert! Anyone WAY out there who especially digs Janis Joplin is in for a treat! Read the book if only for getting into Janis. The author was on A&E and I have read interviews and he mentions an autobiography/memoir in the works; in other words, a bigger, fatter tale to beat the rose-colored glasses of our illusions. I can hardly wait and I'm no masochist! LAID BARE must surely rub a lot of people the wrong way or make them mad as hell.Read more ›
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56 of 69 people found the following review helpful By B. McConville on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
The author is either the unluckiest man in Hollywood or the most deluded. His story of self promotion is a rollercoaster ride through the fringes of the Hollywood scene during the late 50's and through into the 60's.

The author pulls no punches in taking on the likes of Dennis Hopper, Steve McQueen, Jane Fonda et al and blames them for everything from a bad haircut to world hunger.
He seems to have spent most of his time being ripped off by his friends, being cuckolded by his enemies or being pursued for sex by his superiors. In fact it's a suprise that this book actually made it into print and that it wasn't stolen out from under his pillow by some glory seeking fiend.
For example, although Hopper made one of the 60's seminal films (Easy Rider) Mr Gilmore gives him no credit as a director and instead blames Hopper and Peter Fonda for pinching his script.
Given the way he describes the likes of Hopper, Brando and Jane Fonda just to mention a few it is a wonder the author doesn't go out at all times armed with a running chainsaw, or at least a big dog.
A large part of the book involves attacking those whom the author believes were undermining his position of heir apparent to the legacy of James Dean. His relationship with Dean seems to define his existance and he guards it jealously. Aswell as stalking various film and music people, he lumbers himself on anyone who is an identity on the Hollywood scene.
He puts one in mind of a homeless dog, desperate for acceptance but with very little to offer.
Having said this, however, the book is a good read. Even though the author comes across as a snivelling weasel, his unfettered ego and good quality penmanship make the book highly entertaining.
Take it to the beach and revel in the story of a hasbeen masquerading as a almostwas who in reality never could.....
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