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Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America Hardcover – January 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First edition. edition (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743246586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743246583
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.7 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his refreshing biography, Biskind (Easy Riders, Raging Bulls) examines Beatty's dual—and often dueling—status as Hollywood legend and notorious womanizer without letting either subsume the other. Beatty's film career began with a starring role in director Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass opposite Natalie Wood, the first of his co-stars with whom he had relationships (the list includes Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, and Annette Bening, whom he married). As producer and star of 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, Beatty inhabited the brief and violent life of the titular bank robber in a film Pauline Kael called the most exciting American movie since The Manchurian Candidate. From 1971's McCabe & Mrs. Miller, now considered one of the finest westerns of all time, to his Oscar-winning turn as director in 1981's Reds (which he both produced and starred in), Beatty had a hand in some of New Hollywood's most important films. But Biskind does not gloss over the fact that Beatty has not had a box office hit since 1990's Dick Tracy, nor does he ignore the string of flops that have deflated the actor's career (Ishtar, Bugsy, Love Affair, etc.). Yet his respect for Beatty never dwindles, and readers are left with a complicated portrait of a complicated man, arguably a great actor of his generation. (Jan. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Warren Beatty’s exalted status as celebrity movie star and womanizer have rather obscured his credentials as a filmmaker who shares with Orson Welles the distinction of receiving four Academy Award nominations for a single film. And Beatty turned that trick twice, for Heaven Can Wait and Reds, winning Best Director honors for the latter. Biskind does justice by both aspects of the Hollywood legend. Cinephiles will most appreciate his detailed accounts of the filming of such modern classics as Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and Shampoo, as well as the legendary flop Ishtar and the brash, ambitious political comedy Bulworth. For those more interested in Beatty’s love life, there’s plenty of dish on relationships with Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, Madonna, and multitudes of other girlfriends, well-known and not. Biskind also covers Beatty’s dabbling in politics, particularly his friendship with failed presidential candidate Gary Hart. What really distinguish this highly readable biography are the notoriously evasive Beatty’s cooperation—to a point—with its realization and Biskind’s access to many of the star’s colleagues and lovers. --Gordon Flagg

More About the Author

Peter Biskind is the author of five previous books, including Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. He is a contributor to Vanity Fair and was formerly the executive editor of Premiere magazine. He lives with his family in Columbia County, New York.

Customer Reviews

The book is worth it just for that chapter.
Kindle Customer
As a result, we now have a book that serves as a reminder of not only Beatty's irrelevance, but also Biskind's own.
Biskind's biography of Warren Beatty is an interesting - and quite long - study of a very talented man.
Joseph Albanese

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By IVE on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Biskind is a reknowned film writer who has a special affinity for the 1960s and 70s, a time when the movie industry experienced a tectonic shift and Warren Beatty was at its epicenter. Beatty is perhaps the single greatest example of a living artist who straddled both "old" and "new" Hollywood, so a complete bio of him serves also as a historical document of the evolution of film making. Readers seeking nothing more than sexual gossip will likely be somewhat disappointed, as Beatty's legendary exploits are presented against the much larger canvas of his arduous, sometimes decades-long struggles to bring films such as Reds to fruition. In Biskind's capable hands Beatty transcends easy categorization and is revealed to be fiercely intelligent, visionary, and eccentric -- in other words, very complex and much like the era in which he rose to prominence. I found Star to be a compelling read and, in the end, a most respectful attempt to capture the man in full.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More interesting that Warren Beatty's conquests, beyond-belief narcissism and generally callous behavior toward his colleagues is what is revealed about the challenges of getting a movie to the screen. If you are interested in the larger overview of movie-making, getting through the more superficial stuff is worth the effort.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Both the book `Star' and the subject itself, Warren Beatty seem to be filled with contradictions. Peter Biskind gives Beatty credit for what he says are his unmatched successes, but then on the same page will write of the flops and terrible difficulties Warren creates for those who surround him, both professionally and in his love affairs. The contradictions are constant, even those who hate him can't help but liking him. As stories of Beatty's life in Hollywood are explained, they are followed with statements such as: "Beatty now insists that none of this ever happened...and in 1971, when asked if it was true, Beatty said, 'Probably. Possibly'."
Of course the book has details of Beatty's many affairs, but then as Biskind also explains in his introduction, he decided not to include Warren's marriage with Annette Bening, so if you are looking for that part of Beatty's life it is not included, nor is his life before the movie 'Splendor in the Grass'. What is integrated are the details of Beatty's professional career and the difficulties that developed on his movie sets.
This is not really a personal biography since those close to him, his sister, his friends and most of his former lovers will not give interviews. Most of the details are professional and concern his ability to bed almost any woman who crosses his path. Even though Beatty gave permission for this book, he has, like many others before him who authorize biographies then disputed some of what is written.
The cover proclaims "How Warren Beatty seduced America". That question is really never answered; but if you are a fan of Warren Beatty or someone who wishes to read about the moviemaking process and Hollywood community you might enjoy the 600+ pages of information contained in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sidonia on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Peter Biskind's STAR is everything I want to find in a Hollywood bio and almost never do. It's smart, informed, researched in depth, and neither hagiography nor a hatchet job. Instead, Biskind has done the work of a top journalist, talked to everyone who would talk, and dug up surprising -- and of course salacious and "socking" connections. The picture revealed through the lens of Beatty's life isn't pretty, but it's as close as an ordinary person is likely to get if you want to know what makes Hollywood tick, and what makes a star. Like his earlier books, this one is a page turner, and hard to put down. There are surprises on every page. I think it's true that the universal is revealed only through the particular. Biskind had the determination to dig up every particular he encountered, and the result is a revelation of the town that's at the center of popular culture.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lucyisme on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Never thought I would read a Beatty bio from cover to cover! I could not put this book down. Biskind is one of few fearless journalists
writing about Hollywood. Is Beatty a Star? Yes and No. Not exactly. Maybe? Definitely! There are no simple answers in this brilliant book.
A must read for anyone who loves movies. Love is a complex thing--especially for Warren Beatty.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harry Chotiner on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Biskind's biography to be exactly what I wanted. It's a thoughtful exploration of Beatty and the Hollywood in which he thrived. It's full of fun gossip and anecdotes. And it's really interesting in discussing his movies.

Biskind has written two of the most important books ever done on the outliers of Hollywood (the mavericks of the 1970's and the independent film people of the 1990's). And so Beatty was a natural subject given Biskind's past interests. And Beatty and Biskind are two of a kind. They swim in the mainstream but there's a part of them that's going to resist the blandishments and compromises of that mainstream. Beatty may not like it that Biskind has revealed too much. But in terms of "getting him," Beatty couldn't have found a better biographer.

What I also loved about the book is that it's the kind of thing that can be read cover to cover, and it also works for just jumping around from favorite movie to favorite movie. It's a treat.

And thanks to Amazon the price is pretty reasonable.
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