Saturday, July 07, 2007

Five best: books about Hollywood

Robert Osborne, a Turner Classic Movies host, selected a five best books about Hollywood list for Opinion Journal.

One title to make the final cut:

Lion of Hollywood by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

Soon after MGM's big boss, Louis B. Mayer, died in 1957, his name became a symbol of Hollywood hierarchy at its most monstrous. I have always found this confusing, since many of those who knew Mayer well and worked for him were fond of the man who shepherded "more stars than there are in heaven." Scott Eyman's excellent Mayer biography, "Lion of Hollywood," helps explain these divergent views: In 1961, New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote a book about Mayer ("Hollywood Rajah") with much negative input from one of Mayer's two daughters, Edie Mayer Goetz, who had been -- ah! -- left out of his will. Eyman's meticulously researched book never panders to Mayer but does a great deal to balance our perceptions of him. Along the way, we learn how a boy born in Russia in 1882 joined a generation of refugees, glove salesmen and other ambitious young men to start an American industry. The empire they built was dictated much more by need and passion than meanness and malice.

Read more about Osborne's five best list.

--Marshal Zeringue