Jane Wyman, who married Reagan in 1940 and divorced him seven years later, knew an early life of privation. She gravitated to the movies and made her debut at fifteen as an unbilled member of the chorus, then toiled as an extra for four years until she finally received billing. She proved herself as a dramatic actress in The Lost Weekend, and the following year, she was nominated for an Oscar for The Yearling and soon won for her performance in Johnny Belinda, in which she did not speak a single line. Other Oscar nominations followed, along with a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Angela Channing in Falcon Crest.
Conversely, Nancy Davis led a relatively charmed life, the daughter of an actress and the stepdaughter of a neurosurgeon. Surrounded by her mother's friends--Walter Huston, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lillian Gish, and Alla Nazimova, her godmother--Davis started in the theater, then moved on to Hollywood, where she enjoyed modest success, and finally began working in television. When she married Reagan in 1952, she unwittingly married into politics, eventually leaving acting to concentrate on being the wife of the governor of California, and then the wife of the president of the United States. In her way, Davis played her greatest role as Reagan's friend, confidante, and adviser in life and in politics.
This book considers three actors who left an indelible mark on both popular and political culture for more than fifty years.
Bernard F. Dick is professor emeritus of communication and English at Fairleigh Dickinson University and is the author of Forever Mame: The Life of Rosalind Russell; Claudette Colbert: She Walked in Beauty; Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young (all published by University Press of Mississippi); and several other books.
Drawing on personal interviews and information from the archives of Russell and her producer-husband Frederick Brisson, Dick begins with Russell's childhood in Waterbury, Connecticut, and chronicles her early attempts to achieve recognition after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Frustrated by her inability to land a lead in a Broadway show, she headed for Hollywood in 1934 and two years later played her first starring role, the title character in Craig's Wife.
Dick discusses all of her films along with her triumphal return to Broadway, first in the musical Wonderful Town and later in Auntie Mame. Forever Mame details Russell's social circle of such stars as Loretta Young, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra. It traces an extraordinary career, ending with Russell's courageous battle against the two diseases that eventually caused her death: rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Russell devoted her last years to campaigning for arthritis research. So successful was she in her efforts to alert lawmakers to this crippling disease that a leading San Francisco research center is named after her.
The New York Times Bestseller
A deeply personal and revealing Hollywood-survival story.
Lovable child star by age ten, international teen idol by fifteen, and to this day a perennial pop-culture staple, Corey Feldman has not only spent the entirety of his life in the spotlight, he's become just as famous for his off-screen exploits as for his roles in such classic films as Gremlins, The Goonies, and Stand by Me. He's been linked to a slew of Hollywood starlets (including Drew Barrymore, Vanessa Marcil, and adult entertainer Ginger Lynn), shared a highly publicized friendship with Michael Jackson, and with his frequent costar Corey Haim enjoyed immeasurable success as one half of the wildly popular duo "The Two Coreys," spawning seven films, a 1-900 number, and "Coreymania" in the process. What child of the eighties didn't have a Corey Feldman poster hanging in her bedroom, or a pile of Tiger Beats stashed in his closet?
Now, in this brave and moving memoir, Corey is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.
While Corey has managed to overcome the traps that ensnared so many other entertainers of his generation—he's still acting, is a touring musician, and is a proud father to his son, Zen—many of those closest to him haven't been so lucky. In the span of one year, he mourned the passing of seven friends and family members, including Corey Haim and Michael Jackson. In the wake of those tragedies, he's spoken publicly about the dark side of fame, lobbied for legislation affording greater protections for children in the entertainment industry, and lifted the lid off of what he calls Hollywood's biggest secret.
Coreyography is his surprising account of survival and redemption.
Bernard F. Dick's highly readable studio chronicle is followed by thirteen original essays by leading film scholars, writing about the stars, films, genres, writers, producers, and directors responsible for Columbia's emergence from Poverty Row status to world class. This is the first attempt to integrate film history with film criticism of a single studio. Both the historical introduction and the essays draw on previously untapped archival material -- budgets that kept Columbia in the black during the 1930s and 1940s, letters that reveal the rapport between Depression audiences and director Frank Capra, and an interview with Oscar-winning screenwriter Daniel Taradash.
The book also offers new perspectives on the careers of Rita Hayworth and Judy Holliday, a discussion of Columbia's unique brands of screwball comedy and film noir, and analyses of such classics as The Awful Truth, Born Yesterday, From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Anatomy of a Murder, Easy Rider, Taxi Driver, The Big Chill, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Last Emperor. Amply illustrated with film stills and photos of stars and studio heads, Columbia Pictures includes a brief chronology and a complete 1920-1991 filmography. Designed for both the film lover and the film scholar, the book is ideal for film history courses.