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Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star Paperback – February 1, 1999
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William Haines was one of MGM's biggest stars in the late 1920s, playing cocky but sympathetic wise guys in movies such as Brown of Harvard. He was as self-assured in real life: dropped by the studio in 1933 because he refused to hide his homosexuality, Haines became a successful interior decorator. Journalist William J. Mann perceptively links Haines's story to shifting attitudes in the movie industry, the gay community, and America as a whole. He also paints a tender portrait of the actor's love for Jimmie Shields, his companion from 1926 until Haines's death in 1973. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The now-forgotten Haines made the leap from contract player to featured actor in 1926 and was Hollywood's top male moneymaker in 1930. But a combination of changing times and battles with Louis B. Mayer over his love life ended his career by 1936. Thereafter, Haines made a fortune as one of America's top interior designers without giving up his principles. Journalist Mann's detailed biography, based partly on interviews with gay Hollywood figures who knew Haines well, reveals a film community whose public and private faces rarely coincided. Haines and his partner's 50-year life together and that of other long-term gay Hollywood couples demonstrates a commitment rarely seen among any couples. Highly recommended for its vivid portrait of these overlapping communities.?Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Houston
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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As a devotee of the silents and the lives/loves of Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Roscoe Arbuckle through the days of the HUAC into the days of Reagan's governorship of California and onward, Mr. Mann has authored an addictive book about an interesting and verbal and generous man living in a town afraid of scandal, loss of face, and money.
I was so absorbed in this book and could not put it down until I finished the read, sorry at the end that the book was completed. I wanted MORE; alas, there was no more.
Sway with the palm trees and the famous hotels and night clubs of the day in this book. It has been a long time for the movies, and perhaps they do not make cinema as they did back then, but gee, what a time those denizens of the land of the Angels and surrounding had back in the day.
I was surprised to find how good the writing is. The author
has a way of making his research be both informative and
memorable. I have already recommended this book to
friends to buy on Amazon if they didn't want to wait for
me to finish it. I read it in bed at night but only about 10 pages
a night. I like looking forward to next 10 pages the following night.
By his mid thirties after the freshness of his screen idol looks and the interest of the public had faded, and probably seeking shelter from the limelight following a big scandal that saw his partner charged for an act of pedophilia, Haines turned to his passion for antiques and interiors and proceeded to make a successful business of it becoming 'the' interior designer of his many friends in the Hollywood industry. Overall very informative and well researched with lots of references to his many performances in films, the author at times takes the route of the educated guess due to material lack of available information - possibly for the inaccessibility of MGM Studios files, and the often secretive nature of the subject matter -
I do wish there were photos of his furniture designs and interiors, which are more of a legend now than ever.