Sunday, February 13, 2011

Five best books: remarkable Hollywood lives

Stefan Kanfer is the author, most recently, of Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a list of the five best books chronicling remarkable Hollywood lives.

One title on the list:
Get Happy
by Gerald Clarke (2000)

'I've lost my audience,' Judy Garland lamented in 1969, the last year of her life. Gerald Clarke begs to differ: "She had not lost her audience. Her audience had lost her; she no longer had either the energy or the desire to stand on a stage." The tragic story is familiar, from the uppers and downers fed to her as a young star to keep her going to the unhappy marriages and ill health later in life. But there were plenty of inspiring moments, too—starting with "The Wizard of Oz," of course, plus many of her later concert tours, when she performed for enraptured audiences in America and Europe (French critics dubbed her la Piaf Americaine). There have been a slew of Garland biographies; "Get Happy" is the most dignified, the least prurient and the best-written.
Read about another title on Kanfer's list.

--Marshal Zeringue