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Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip Paperback – August 28, 1997
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About the Author
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very graphic sex. Wasn't quite prepared for that and felt (hoped) there was a lot of exaggeration. If half of this book is true, I'm really glad I wasn't raised in that world. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jennifer Jones
The subject was not what I thought it would be. Did not care for it.Published 6 months ago by sandy johanson
You can't go wrong with John Gilmore on a tour of Hollywood and its famous denizens as he has lived it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Seventeen years ago, when I first read this book, I had yet to read future books about the period in Hollywood between WWII and The Vietnam War. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jonster
John Gilmore's life has encompassed what would be multiple lives by any other standard. Actor, Writer, Director, Journalist, you name it, he's not only lived it, but had an... Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Bob James
Interesting account of many of Hollywood stars & starlets. Not too man startling revelations tho as much was already known or rumored.Published on November 30, 2013 by cyh
An amazing book by a great writer. John Gilmore had a life that was to be both envied and avoided. He paints celebrities as he knew them (and wow did he know a lot) From Janis... Read morePublished on July 5, 2013 by Art Rawspine