Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Warren Beatty: A Private Man Paperback – October 24, 2006
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Amazon.com Exclusive: Joe Laitin and Warren Beatty Excerpted Interview
Excerpt and photographs courtesy of the author, Suzanne Finstad, by permission of Peter Laitin.
Beatty with Joe Laitin
WB: I am finding more and more that it's really very hard to please a lot of people. And I would say it's impossible. And so I have been allowing that need to try to please a lot of people to slip away from me in the past couple of years. So that I realize now that there will be a lot of people that dislike me just on principle, there will be a lot of people that will resent me, there will be a lot of people that will like me, and there'll be an awful lot of people that just don't really care one way or the other. So if I allowed myself to be upset by that, then I'd be a pretty upset person.
So I've got to just enjoy my own work. My business is not exploitation and my business is not selling pictures. My business is not figuring out good angles for press and so forth. My business, or my work, is acting right now. And once I forget about that, I'm gonna be a boring actor and I'm not gonna have any fun at it. And that's why I hire people to do--that's why I have an agent, that's why I have somebody who's a press representative, and that's why I have a business manager. Because I don't want to think about those things. And I find that if I try to think about them, I don't do it well. All I know is when I'm enjoying my work in acting and when I'm not, when I think I'm doing well and when I don't.
It's like the more attention that is brought to you, the more obstacles that are put in your path, just doing an honest day's work creatively. There are more obstacles.
With sister Shirley Maclaine
JL: Are these quotes of yours and Shirley's [Maclaine] in print without any direct communication between you, is that widening whatever breach there is between you, Warren?
WB: Not on my part, it certainly isn't, and I don't feel that there's a specific breach between us. And I'm sure that she feels the same way...
JL: Now this is the only part that I'm really interested in, because if you don't really want to communicate with her, I'm very curious to know why. It may explain a part of your character that I don't know anything about.
WB: Well, I don't blame you for being curious, but that doesn't mean that I've got to, you know, go into my sister.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Undoubtedly the best star biography of the year.” —Christopher Silvester, The Sunday Times (London)
“Finstad discovers that Beatty is even more sensitive, gentlemanly, and astute than had already been realized.” —Janet Maslin, New York Times
“[A] compelling biography. Beatty is that rarest of human beings, a man blessed with many gifts: good looks, charm, talent, drive, and sex appeal. Beatty’s life has something to teach people about eluding fame’s snares.” —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
“A serious, fact-rich look at a serious artist.” —Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal
“A detailed and admiring account of Beatty’s life and loves. Finstad’s book gives plenty of insight into the gentleman and perfectionist she says lies behind the Virginia-raised actor’s mask.” —Reuters News Service
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Much of the first fourth of the book is devoted to his family tree. Finstad leans a bit heavily on the literary device of foreshadowing, and peppers nearly every family history moment, genealogical trait, or childhood moment of Beatty's as a portent of things to come. A few here and there would have been fine, but she really lays it on thick.
The author also pays a lot of creedence to how the various influences of religion, lifestyle, environment, and profession of many of his ancestors had a profound influence on Beatty's development and life. Call my cynical, but I don't necessarily believe that all those individual ingredients will necessarily so deeply impact a person one to three generations down the road. They certainly can and might, but not likely to the degree that Finstad asserts. Beatty is very much "his own man", as Finstad herself would say. Seems a bit presumptuous to try to pinpoint the motivations for so many details in a person's life to his ancestors when the man himself is the product of his own life experiences first and foremost.
Regardless of that, the book is a pleasant read and reveals a good number of Hollywood trivia tidbits that would fascinate and delight movie and theater fans. Beatty's sister Shirley Maclaine gets a fair amount of ink in this book too. And true to Finstad's writing style, if she says once that Beatty deliberately decided not to trade on the success of his famous older sister as he struck out on his own, she says it a hundred times.
WB isn't quite as entertaining as Suzanne Finstad's previous biorgaphy, the sublime NATASHA, which really did bring Natalie Wood alive again for her fans; and it's likely that the parts of the present book with the most emotional resonance are the years Beatty spent with Natalie, trying to cheer her up after Wagner betrayed her. Finstad does an admirable job of showing us the psychological underpinnings of Beatty's affairs with Joan Collins (almost persuading us that Collins is a real person, not just a glitzy British sex bomb--almost, but not quite), Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron, and Julie Christie. But when she gets down the list to Michelle Phillips, her pretense at analysis ends. She doesn't even try. I wonder if the book wasn't originally twice as long, and she was asked to curtail the later years into a series of briefer chapters. I mean, she could have written 100s of pages on Mary Tyler Moore and Isabelle Adjani, but instead they're reduced to ciphers.
As a boy, Beatty was enraptured by the original cast album of OKLAHOMA! by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Finstad successfully shows us that, subconsciously or not, Beatty succeeded again and again in replicating the Curly-Laurie romance in his own adult life.
It does seem as though Beatty was propelled to stardom by a clutch of gay visionaries including Inge and Tennessee Williams, and crypto gay figures like Joshua Logan, who signed Beatty to a personal contract and had him screen tested kissing Jane Fonda from morning to night. Inge wrote not only SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, but A LOSS OF ROSES and ALL FALL DOWN for Beatty, and apparently never asked him for a thing in return. The stage production of A LOSS OF ROSES turned out to be a true nightmare of conflicted egos and desperate desires, what with Barbara Baxley threatening to jump off the cliffs of Malibu if replaced by Carol Haney, and Shirley Booth quitting on opening night. Joey Heatherton, the one and only, was also fired, thus setting the scene for a long and poignant second act that never quite came.
Would Joan Collins have been effective in the movie version of DH Lawrence's SONS AND LOVERS? Would Warren have succeeded playing Tony in WEST SIDE STORY? The book gives us crazy dreams of movies that might have been. Afdera Fonda, the former wife of Henry Fonda who dallied with Beatty briefly in 1963, said that he was "naughty, charming and playful. He smelled like honey, and he came and went like a shadow in the night."