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Party Animals: A Hollywood Tale of Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll Starring the Fabulous Allan Carr Paperback – March 2, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306816555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306816550
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Those who open Hofler’s biography of larger-than-life movie producer and party-giver Allan Carr, hoping for a closer look into decidedly decadent 1970s Hollywood, won’t be disappointed. Carr famously threw some of the wildest, most decadent parties of the decade, many in his home, some meant to drum up interest in one or another of his film projects (the premiere party for the movie Tommy was in a New York subway station). But Hofler is after more than mere trash. His book also affords a fascinating look at the movie business and a moving portrait of a talented, complicated, self-destructive man. For a while Carr could do no wrong in La La Land. He was the man, after all, behind the hit movie Grease. And then, just as suddenly, he could do no right. He was also the guy behind the Village People bomb, Can’t Stop the Music, and the moving force behind the disastrous 1989 Academy Awards ceremony, the one in which Rob Lowe danced with Snow White. Hofler captures Carr, warts and all. --Jack Helbig

Review

Kirkus Reviews, 12/15/09
“Hofler delivers a hell of a tour of Hollywood egotism, crassness and gross excess…[A] fast-paced, funny and occasionally horrifying portrait of a compulsive personality and the culture of excess that both created and destroyed him.”

New York Post, 12/16/2009
“A good, gossipy read.”

Connecticut Post, 12/18/09
“[A] juicy biography…Hofler’s book will remind Hollywood that there was a lot more to this over-sized character than met the eye and that he is well worth remembering. The writer was able to talk with a wide array of people who were in Carr’s orbit for a while—from Stockard Channing to Jerry Herman and Ann-Margret to Arthur Laurents—and they have lots of interesting things to say.”

Publishers Weekly, 1/25/10
“A sex- and camp-fueled romp through the outrageous life of Hollywood producer and impresario Allan Carr (1937–1999). Eschewing the conventional biography model, Hofler instead chronicles Carr’s lavish parties and equally audacious film work.”

Q Syndicate, 3/8/10
“There’s not a lot of affection in Hofler’s biography of Allan Carr…But there is a lot of titillation…This candid, sometimes cruel account of hedonistic excess depicts the Hollywood that moral conservatives have nightmares about.”

Instinct, March 2010
“Ever wish you could step back into the hedonistic days of ’70s Hollywood? The sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll of it all? Party Animals may be your safest bet to revisit those days…More than just juicy gossip, we also get a look at gay Hollywood in the ’70s.”

Booklist Online, 2/17/10
“Those who open Hofler’s biography of larger-than-life movie producer and party-giver Allan Carr, hoping for a closer look into decidedly decadent 1970s Hollywood, won’t be disappointed…Hofler is after more than mere trash. His book also affords a fascinating look at the movie business and a moving portrait of a talented, complicated, self-destructive man…Hofler captures Carr, warts and all.”

PittsburghStageandScreenExaminer.com, 2/26/10
“Hofler examines the glittery life and drug-riddled excesses of the overtly gay Carr in delightfully delicious, almost sinful, detail. Carr’s was a notorious reign in an excess-laden era, and Hofler takes us behind-the-scenes, exposing scandal, sex and decadent sordid lives so sizzling and sordid you might want to reach for asbestos gloves.”

People.com, 2/28/10
“[A] fair-minded new bio of the late impresario.”

Hollywood Reporter, 3/1/10
“A dishy new biography.”

Beverly Hills Courier Pick of the Week, 3/5/10
“Riveting…A warts-and-more portrait of the indulgent ‘70s…Hofler’s is a welcomed assessment about a Disco Decade that was unforgettable…A juicy read of a time and a place.”

Camp, 3/4/10
“Truly riveting…One genuinely sizzling read… Hofler paints a vivid picture of a larger-than-life legend who had a great fall…An engrossing, fast-paced narrative. Included along the way are plenty of interesting bits of trivia…Stories, ranging from mild to wild, are skillfully interwoven throughout. (The chapters dedicated to “Can’t Stop the Music”—Allan’s no-holds-barred salute to disco, starring The Village People—could by themselves turn this book into an instant “peek behind the celebrity curtain” classic!)…A must-read for show queens, movie buffs, or anyone who experienced those free-wheeling post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS times (not to mention those who wish they had).”

3/7/10
A Southern California Independent Booksellers Association paperback nonfiction bestseller.

Newsday, 3/7/10
“Energetically chronicling Carr’s hits and misses, author Robert Hofler champions the completely apolitical but consistently outré Carr as an ‘accidental gay activist,’ whose ‘unspoken goal’ was ‘to bring gay into the Hollywood mainstream.’…[A] breezy book…The story of how a spoiled, tubby, movie-mad only child born Alan Solomon in Highland Park, Ill., in 1937 became both the ringleader of Caligulan orgies and a shrewd showman.”

Film Comment, March/April 2010
“[A] highly readable guilty-pleasure bio… Hofler’s tome reads like an update of Hollywood Babylon.”

Modern Tonic, 3/10/10
“Robert Hofler knows that drug- and sex-fueled parties sell books, and he doesn’t miss one salacious bit in Party Animals.”

EDGE Publications, 3/8/10
“Although Robert Hofler has written a biography, the trajectory reads like a classically schematic novel by Balzac or Stendhal…Hofler has spun a delicious tale of a Hollywood ego run amuck…For the most part, Hofler’s book is as engrossing as his subject…This is a book by a Hollywood insider for those who want to know what Hollywood is like on the inside. Like most such books, it isn’t very pretty, but it’s delicious. Movies and Broadway shows are indeed like sausages: tasty, but you don’t want to see how they’ve been made. In this case, however, you’ll eat it up.”

Bookgasm.com, 3/11/10
“[Carr’s] Hollywood parties were legendary for their excess, so there’s much to qualify as shocking…[Carr is] portrayed as compassionate, generous, giving and—psssst!—if you haven’t heard, gay as a tangerine.”

Internet Review of Books, March 2010
Party Animals is a story of aesthetic over-indulgence…There are some juicy bits.”

Angeleno magazine, “Book Look” column, April 2010
“Details the debauched Hollywood Hills lifestyle of producer and manager Allan Carr.”

Bookviews.com, April 2010
“Shows how the overtly and proudly gay Carr broke social barriers and is a detailed, intimate look at Hollywood in that era.” 

wowOwow.com, 3/30/10
“The tome is peppered with juicy anecdotes; fabulous names are dropped on every page. It reads like one of those glamorous train-wreck bios on Judy or Marilyn. And for sure, Allan would take this as a compliment!...Party Animals is a trip back to not-so-long-ago times when it seemed the party would never end, and Allan Carr was the ringmaster of a circus world where anything could happen, and often did.”

January magazine, 3/29/10
“Seventies Hollywood excess is perfectly rendered in Party Animals…[Hofler] delivers a front row look at the crazy life that surrounded producer Allan Carr…If you enjoy tales from inside Hollywood, you’ll like Party Animals, even if you never knew much about Carr.”

The Onion’s A.V. Club, 3/25/10
“Anyone with a taste for tales of Hollywood decadence will want to make a beeline for Party AnimalsParty Animals is shamelessly entertaining—more so, in fact, than much of what Carr actually made.”

Goldmine, 4/9/10
“Hofler’s book is both a fun account of a man who enjoyed living large (in every sense of the word) and a poignant look at the pleasures and perils of excess.”

Tucson Citizen, 4/14/10
“[A] sizzling, behind-the-scenes book…A detailed and intimate look at both Carr and the Hollywood of the 1970s.” 

The John Shelton Ivany Top 21, 4/21/10
“Hofler shows how the overtly and proudly gay Carr broke Hollywood's barriers by brining together and celebrating the various sexual preferences of entertainment’s biggest stars. Chronicling Carr’s notorious reign over this excess-laden era, Hofler takes us behind-the-scenes to give us a detailed and intimate look at Hollywood in its heyday.”

A Los Angeles Times paperback bestseller. (4/25/10)

Playbill, April 2010
“Hofler spares us few bumps on the way down (and on the way up, for that matter) in his new and properly tawdry tome.”

Baltimore City Paper, 4/7/10
“The highs and lows of one man's life in the wickedly unforgiving entertainment industry…Party Animals offers an irresistible entry into some of the more decadent parties of one of the more decadent eras.”

Sacramento Book Review, May 2010
“Hofler uses interviews with celebrities and Carr’s high school friends to make readers feel as if they are walking through these excessive fetes. Party Animals captures the spirit of Allan Carr and hedonistic era of 1970s Hollywood. Just as Carr did for his productions and parties, Hofler leaves out no details.”

South Florida Gay News, 5/2/10
“This book has all of the trappings, both magical and troubled, of Hollywood.”

Chelsea Now and Gay City News, 4/30/10
“Will doubtlessly be on many a gay beach towel this summer, as it’s a succulently trashy read about the stage and screen impresario who just possibly might have done more coke than anyone else in Tinseltown…A total page-turner.”

EDGE Publications, 5/10/10
“Hofler provides a powerfully panoramic view of the ’70s, and its aesthetic avatar. Fast, furious, and full of jaw-dropping details, it’s a must-read for anyone with even a passing fascination with this dizzying decade of divine decadence.”

Lost Angeles Times, 5/20/10
“Deliciously dishy…Hofler tells his story like a catty fly on a wall…But he also gives the man his due…Hofler's unflinching portrayal of Carr…is an amazing ride through an era dripping with self-indulgence.”

HistoryWire.com, 5/18/10
“The story of Allan Carr's life is inevitably the story, as well, of a cocaine-addled, sexually indulgent era.”

Los Angeles Times, 5/20/10
“Deliciously dishy…Hofler tells his story like a catty fly on a wall, a very good choice. But he also gives the man his due…Hofler's unflinching portrayal of Carr…is an amazing ride through an era dripping with self-indulgence.”
 
Times of Northwest Indiana, 6/20/10
“Hoffler’s chronicle of the rise of big screen and Broadway producer Carr is…scandalous.”

Windy City Times, 9/22
“Filled with big names and little scandals, Party Animals is exhaustively researched, over-the-top snarky, [and] sarcastically funny…[A] biography of tenacity, flamboyancy and debauchery.”

 

Detroit Metrotimes, 11/30/10
“A decadent delight.”
 
Flavorwire.com, 12/16/10
“This superbly written bio makes the new Keith and Frank books look positively serene.”

Windy City Times
, “Looking Back at 2010” Roundup
“[A] juicy, tart biography…A great big trashy tell-all…A big fat tome of snark, juice and tons of dishy details.”

 

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By rcknrllguy on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book would have better been suited to a magazine article as it dwells on just a couple key events in Carr's life, rather than a more complete tale of the times. If you call Grease and Grease 2 Rock N Roll, than this book is for you.
Lots of long drawn-out depictions of production details of TV shows and a couple flop movies is all you get. Save your money on this one unless you were there and want to rehash the events.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Movus Cleveland on May 22, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gave this two stars because it eventually became interesting for me, but it took a long time to get there. I was glad to be done with this book and I didn't have any affection for the main character Alan Carr. That made it a tough read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like Hollywood stories this may be a good book for you. Alan Carr, the proverbial fat kid, rises to the heights of Hollywood by bringing a Mexican movie on the Andes "Cannibalism" plane crash incident to America with Robert Stigwood. This non-hit money maker (it's all about the costs) allows Carr to leverage this success into the at that time unwanted movie depiction of the Broadway Play "Grease". I remember this show well and it was quite a hit with Travolta following Saturday Night Live and Olivia Newton John crossing over from Pop/Country music. When you have two successes in a row you have power and suddenly the façade Carr was running was real and he was at the center of Hollywood in the 70s.

The book centers on Carr's home, Hillhaven, with a great starting set-up of Brett Ratner viewing the home which he later buys, somewhat because of the houses history. After the typical background info of young Alan Carr, you are thrown right into 70s Hollywood and party central at Hillhaven. Or should I say the Gay 70s party scene. Actually, these parties may have been the West Coast version of Studio 54 which was a heavy gay crowd mixed with celebrities and oddballs.

Just as a run of successes puts Hollywood at your feet, a run of failures takes it away and Carr's fall was particularly fast and hard. Grease was the zenith and the success of the Broadway play "La Cage Aux Follies" which he produced made him a player. But the awful disco movie "Can't Stop the Music" and "Grease 2" took the bloom off the Rose until Carr was picked to spice up the Oscars by producing the 1989 show.

The infamous 1989 Oscar show and particularly the 12 minute introduction with Snow White and Rob Lowe sealed Carr's fate and infamy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's the second best worst movie ever made. Valley of the Dolls is No. 1 . . . Can't Stop the Music follows. The 1980 musical epic was the first(and only) time The Village People starred in a film, proofing it takes a Village to (almost) stop a Carr in his tracks. At least the flick is credited with the death of disco. The '70s were the pinnacle of Hollywood's hedonistic age--sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. And no one embraced and cultivated the on-the-edge lifestyle more than the flamboyant, obese, caftan-wearing Allan Carr. Having made his reputation producing and promoting such major movie hits as Grease and Tommy and the cross-dressing Broadway smash La Cage aux Folles, Carr anointed himself Hollywood's premier social patriarch, hosting exclusive and extravagant parties with guest lists that included legends as well as rising stars--everyone from Roman Polanski to Sidney Poitier, Diana Ross and Mick Jagger. Invitations to gatherings at his opulent home--with its bars, disco, and private rooms where guests could indulge their cocaine habits or sexual exploits--were highly coveted. But Carr's fall from grace was as dramatic as his rise to the top. He was banned from the Academy Awards after producing what is remembered as the worst-ever Oscars (yes you remember . . .the one where Rob Lowe "sang" with Snow White) His health failing, he became a personal and professional pariah. And let us not forget Grease II. Now Carr is steering for a comeback. At least on paper. In Party Animals, Robert Hofler examines the glittery life and drug-riddled excesses of the overtly gay Carr in delightfully delicious, almost sinful, detail. Grease may have been the word, but nothing greased Carr's wheels better than a pretty times, pretty caftans, pretty drugs and pretty boys. Hofler takes us behind-the-scenes, exposing scandal, sex and decadent sordid lives so sizzling and sordid you might want to reach for asbestos gloves. Ouch!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Author on March 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Robert Hofler's Henry Willson biography and snatched this book up as soon as I saw it. I know that Hofler, a senior editor at Variety, is plugged into the Hollywood zeitgeist he chronicles so deftly. Allan Carr actually has much in common with Henry Willson, the overweight, homely producer who had the power to make any chorus boy's dream come true.

Carr goes through a lot of chorus boys and sees a lot of things at the decadent parties he throws at his home, Hillhaven Lodge. But, because many of the people who attended those parties are still with us, and because Allan was considered toxic after the 1989 Oscars he produced, we perhaps don't get the showstopper quotes that might have fleshed this biography out even more (pun intended). We do get excellent dish on the late Nuryev though. I would haved loved to know what was on those party tapes at Hillhaven Lodge. And what they were doing. But I'm nosy that way.

Five stars. Great read!
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More About the Author

I'm the theater critic for The Wrap, and now live in New York City. I've previously worked as an editor at Life, Us, Variety and other publications. My latest book is "Sexplosion: From Andy Warhol to A Clockwork Orange, How a Generation of Pop Rebels Broke All the Taboos" (It Books/HarperCollins). My previously published books include the Allan Carr biography "Party Animals" and the Henry Willson biography "The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson."
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