Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Hollywood Book of Extravagance: The Totally Infamous, Mostly Disastrous, and Always Compelling Excesses of America's Film and TV Idols
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on September 24, 2007
Prolific Hollywood author and biographer, James Robert Parish, has just published a fascinating gallery of sketches of the great and near-great Hollywood celebrities from the past 70 years through today in his latest book, THE HOLLYWOOD BOOK OF EXTRAVAGANCE. Let's be honest: there were many great stars of Hollywood's Golden Age who were quite sensible and level-headed (Rosalind Russell, Irene Dunne, Ray Milland and Fred MacMurray easily come to mind) but really, who wants to read about THEM? Far more entertaining are the celebs whose lives and careers flared brightly and often briefly though fate, but more often through mismanagement and by their own personal demons. Such circumstances may have ultimately made for a hellish life to live, but these are the stuff of the biographer's dream - and the reader's delight.

Parish reviews the familiar names such as Marilyn Monroe, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, and Joan Crawford, but for the true film aficionado are the cautionary tales of Veronica Lake, Betty Hutton, Oscar Levant, Macaulay Culkin, Burt Reynolds, and many other celebs - some quite forgotten today but celebrated (or notorious) in their own day. A highly recommended book that will make the actors you see on Turner Classic Movies become three dimensional for their follies and foibles.
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VINE VOICEon September 3, 2007
This is a fun-to-read book. Cleverly and clearly written, it includes fascinating details about Hollywood celebrities; their antics are guaranteed to make you feel like maybe you're not such a nut job after all. Not only does it include profiles on better known stars like Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Clara Bow, Mary Pickford, Elizabeth Taylor, Mel Gibson, Errol Flynn, and Warren Beatty, but it also has sections on near-forgotten celebs like Oscar Levant, Gale Storm, Veronica Lake, Betty Hutton, Jean Arthur, and Al Jolson.
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on August 21, 2007
James Robert Parish, one of filmdom's leading historians, offers a thoroughly engaging account, star by star, of the excesses, larger-than-life personalities, and pecadilloes of these Hollywood greats of the past and present. From Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton to Warren Beatty, Julia Roberts, and Drew Barrymore, Parish provides biographical overviews connecting the accomplishments and personal lives of each star to the addictions, tribulations, and indulgences that marked, and in many cases, marred their lives. Parish is unfailingly knowledgeable on all aspects of Hollywood (and television) history and his prose is lively, funny, and wisely reasoned in positing the psychological drives that fed the stars' behaviors. The text is well-illustrated and includes a useful bibliography, but film lovers will devour this chronicle of Hollywood's most compelling excesses. This is a must read!
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on June 23, 2012
This book doesn't have much in it that you probably don't know already. I skipped throught most of it. If you're looking for interesting stories about hollywood another book might be a better choice.
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on October 16, 2013
I was very disappointed with this book. There is more hype on the cover than on the inside. There are no details whatsoever. Just a general time- line of there careers. There is just a tiny bit of information on a lot of stars. Most of it is widely known.
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on July 22, 2015
Just a rehash of old news. Hollywood thinks way too much of themselves. And obviously they are paid way too much money. Too bad they cannot spend all this money in a normal, helpful way instead of squandering it on themselves.
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on August 30, 2007
The best thing about James Robert Parish's books is that they treat potentially sensational(istic) subject matters in a manner that is straightforward and factual. Most writers would simply exploit the excesses of the rich and famous, but Parish goes much beyond that, providing a context for the actions of his subjects. Another good thing about the "Hollywood Book of Extravagance" is that it covers both new and old personalities -- in fact, the book goes back all the way to beginning of the 20th century. Don't let the "extravagant" title scare you. This book has much more to offer.
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on September 10, 2007
While we are bombarded daily with stories of young Hollywood out of control, this fascinating book will show that they are part of a long tradition going back to the beginnings. This very readable, lively book is divided into sections such as So Much Partying (John Barrymore to Robert Downey Jr.), So Much Romancing ( Charlie Chaplin to Jude Law), So Much Rich Living (Zsa Zsa Gabor to Paris Hilton). Each chapter has a brief background on the person and detailed account of their extravagances and the consequences of it all. This makes for very enjoyable reading.
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on September 13, 2007
Parish has long been the go-to guy for Hollywood related lore. But what makes the Book of Extravagance so special is that it is not just about drug and alcohol usage and sexual partners but power, neurosis, the things that often go unexamined in Hollywood. A tremendous and insightful book on what we love and deplore about Hollywood.
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on May 3, 2009
ANOTHER GOOD GOSSIP BOOK BY JAMES ROBERT PARISH SUMS THIS EASY, BREEZY AND ENTERTAINING READ. HE BREAKSDOWN THE BOOK INTO 7 CATAGORIES. THEY ARE SO MUCH SO YOUNG, EGO, NEUROSIS, PARTYING, POWER, RICH LIVING AND ROMANCING. WE THEN A GET A LIST OF THESE OFFENDERS WHO HAVE GONE WAY OVERBOARD IN THESE AREAS AND HOW ALL HAVE GONE DOWN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. MR PARISH'S BOOKS ARE ALL VERY GOOD AND EASY TO READ. SOMETIMES THEY ARE REPETITIVE BUT THAT IS MY ONLY COMPLAINT. IF YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD ACTORS AND LIKE GOSSIP, THIS IS FOR YOU.
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