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How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood by [Mann, William J.]
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How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1709 KB
  • Print Length: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 21, 2009)
  • Publication Date: October 21, 2009
  • Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003K16PTQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. J. Trivette on October 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Geez - the previous "review" must have been written by someone who is most comfortably bound inside the walls of the proverbial "box"! Derivative? Nothing interesting? The "husband" should spend less time doctoring and more time editing? Hum. "Jaded" comes immediately to mind. As a life-long admirer of the legendary Elizabeth, I "thought" I knew all the why's and wherefore's. "Thought"!! Each page of this compelling book painted a more complete picture of the events in Taylor's life than I thought I knew. The unique vantage point of this book notwithstanding, Mr. Mann has captured the unequaled glamor, and never since equaled level, of Taylor's star power more accurately than any other bio on this lady. For those who have yet to read this book, I will not go into particular situations, and the reality of them, for fear of spoiling the revelations. But, I will say the way certain events played out through the "spin" of the lead characters' publicists, as opposed to what was actually happening, rewrites much of the "history" Taylor fans have come to know - particularly the "Liz - Eddie - Debbie" situation, and the Hedda Hopper involvement throughout Taylor's life, too. Now, back to the "unique vantage point" - this book is about HOW Taylor constructed a level of stardom that had never, and will never, be seen again. It's all about the business behind the "life", and how cunning strategy, and plain old good luck, formed the public personality we've come to know as "Elizabeth Taylor". And, along the way, it gives us a more personal insight into the "private" Elizabeth Taylor than we've ever read before. "Derivative"? Uh..........I BEG to differ!!!
Allan Trivette
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't know much about Liz Taylor, she was before my time, being a star of the 1950's and early 1960's. I decided to get this book because I really liked her diet book, which was written after she got out of rehab, and wanted to find out more about her. In spite of the positive and sympathetic portrayal of her by the author, the more I read, the less I liked the woman. She came through as being greedy, demanding, and a spoiled brat. I learned several things about her from reading this book:

1. She gave up her US citizenship to avoid income taxes and kept her British citizenship. That meant she was not actually a US citizen when she was married to Senator Warner. She lost some of my respect there and so did he. Of course it was obvious he just used her to get elected.
2. The public hysteria was not spontaneous, it was hype generated by Taylor's personal publicists. I did not know that before I read this book.
3. She did not actually raise her several children herself, hired nannies did it and she just visited with the kids for a little while in the evenings. On the one hand, I think she would have been a better, more grounded person if she had been a more involved, hands-on mother, but on the other hand, it might have been hard on the kids. So who knows.
4. Mann tries to make the case that Taylor was single-handedly responsible for changing the times sociologically. I disagree. Times change, yes, but there are many factors involved. Taylor was just acting out the "me first want it all now no matter what" excesses that were normal for her. Typical of an addict, indulging her addictions was what her life revolved around, and so she could not understand the effect her behavior was having on other people.
5.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been on an "actresses from the golden age of Hollywood" book bender lately and who better to include than Liz?? This book wasn't what I was expecting. I was at least hoping for entertaining but by the time I had reached the halfway point, I suddenly had the urge to start skimming.

Going in a bit different direction than other biographies, this one focuses more on the making of the Liz "brand" back before creating a brand persona was the norm. It aims to more clearly define fact from fiction and focusing less on scandal details. We all know the many published stories about Taylor and her private life. We also know much of it is fabricated, as almost all publicity in Hollywood was in those days. But this book aims to delve a bit deeper into that subject, which is why the people interviewed for this book are a different crew from those used for other Taylor biographies. I did enjoy seeing Taylor through the eyes of the industry folks who all contributed to her hype, press and manufactured "private life", created exclusively for public consumption. It added a dimension to her that I found decidedly human.

However, William J. Mann's writing becomes tiresome halfway through the book. The many (too many for my taste) references to Hedda Hopper, suggestions that neither Marilyn Monroe, nor Judy Garland could handle their celebrity like "La Liz" and the endless speculations grew irritating and tiresome. On occasions too numerous to count, the author goes off on a stream of assumptions based on the occasional bits of documented fact. Statements like, "she must have been", "one can naturally arrive to the conclusion that" and "she was likely" are sprinkled throughout the book.
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