The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney

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A definitive biography of the iconic actor and Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney (1920-2014) and his extravagant, sometimes tawdry life, drawing on exclusive interviews, and with those who knew him best, including his heretofore unknown mistress of sixty years.

“I lived like a rock star,” said Mickey Rooney. “I had all I ever wanted, from Lana Turner and Joan Crawford to every starlet in Hollywood, and then some. They were mine to have. Ava [Gardner] was the best. I screwed up my life. I pissed away millions. I was #1, the biggest star in the world.”

Mickey Rooney began his career almost a century ago as a one-year-old performer in burlesque and stamped his mark in vaudeville, silent films, talking films, Broadway, and television. He acted in his final motion picture just weeks before he died at age ninety-three. He was an iconic presence in movies, the poster boy for American youth in the idyllic small-town 1930s. Yet, by World War II, Mickey Rooney had become frozen in time. A perpetual teenager in an aging body, he was an anachronism by the time he hit his forties. His child-star status haunted him as the gilded safety net of Hollywood fell away, and he was forced to find support anywhere he could, including affairs with beautiful women, multiple marriages, alcohol, and drugs.

In The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney, authors Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes present Mickey’s nearly century-long career within the context of America's changing entertainment and social landscape. They chronicle his life story using little-known interviews with the star himself, his children, his former coauthor Roger Kahn, collaborator Arthur Marx, and costar Margaret O’Brien. This Old Hollywood biography presents Mickey Rooney from every angle, revealing the man Laurence Olivier once dubbed “the best there has ever been.”
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About the author

Richard A. Lertzman, with William J. Birnes, coauthored Dr. Feelgood, which garnered wide publicity in the United States. Lertzman is the former editor and publisher of Screen Scene magazine.

William J. Birnes, PhD, publisher of UFO Magazine, is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Day After Roswell with the late Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso; the coauthor of The Riverman and Signature Killers with Robert Keppel, Ph.D.; and the editor-in-chief of The McGraw-Hill Personal Computer Programming Encyclopedia. Dr. Birnes lives in Los Angeles and New York with his wife, novelist Nancy Hayfield.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Oct 20, 2015
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Pages
624
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ISBN
9781501100987
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / General
Performing Arts / Film / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A remarkable and delightful memoir of a life spent in the uppermost circles of acting, politics, and the world

Robert Vaughn was born an actor. His family worked in the theater for generations, and he knew from the very start that he would join them. In his fifty-year career, Vaughn has made his mark in roles on stage, in film, and on television the world over. In A Fortunate Life, he describes some of the one-of-a-kind experiences he's enjoyed in his celebrated career. A Fortunate Life reveals the details of his early years in Hollywood, when he found himself appearing as often in the gossip magazines as on screen, and he recounts insider stories about such legendary figures as Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Charlton Heston, Oliver Reed, Jason Robards, Richard Harris, Yul Brynner, Elizabeth Taylor, and many more. Vaughn's work in The Young Philadelphians, The Magnificent Seven, Superman III, and many other films won kudos from critics and peers alike. Worldwide recognition came when he starred in the smash hit series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and he vividly describes the extraordinary experience of becoming, quite suddenly, one of the world's brightest stars.
Vaughn warmly recalls his romances with stars like Natalie Wood and his adventures with friends like Steve McQueen and James Coburn, but equally important was his involvement in the politics of the 1960s. The first actor to publicly speak out against the war in Vietnam, he served as national chairman of Dissenting Democrats, the largest antiwar organization in the U.S. He gave hundreds of speeches denouncing the war, debated William F. Buckley on national TV, and helped persuade his friend Robert F. Kennedy to run for president in 1968---only to see the race end in tragedy.
With a wealth of moving, wonderfully entertaining and often jaw-dropping stories from the worlds of acting and politics, A Fortunate Life is a must-read for fans of Robert Vaughn and anyone who wants a glimpse behind the scenes of classic Hollywood.

In his candid and engaging new book HOW I GOT TO BE WHOEVER IT IS I AM, successful actor, author, and activist, Charles Grodin, looks back at the major events and private moments that have shaped his life. And, since Grodin is one of the best storytellers around, he can't help but entertain while offering insight gained from a wealth of experience.

The combination of being impeached as class president by his fifth grade teacher (and then winning many school elections thereafter) with being thrown out of Hebrew School for asking too many questions (only to find a much better teacher as a result) informed Grodin's view of himself and made him adept at dealing with rejection--an important skill for an actor. Grodin's success in plays in high school and adventures in college theater led him to a career in acting, studying with the great teachers like Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg.

Grodin shares behind-the-scenes tales of working on plays like Same Time Next Year and movies like The Heartbreak Kid and Midnight Run--even how close he came to playing the lead in The Graduate. His stories feature the many actors, directors, writers, and producers, with whom he's worked, such as Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Johnny Carson, Orson Welles, Warren Beatty, and other colorful characters.

Grodin's greatest work isn't limited to stage and screen, however. He has been an award winning talk show host and commentator on Sixty Minutes II, and he reveals insights about the political and personal side of journalism and some of the larger-than-life characters he's interviewed.

Still, it is the personal aspects of Grodin's life that are truly revealing and funny. He shares intimate anecdotes of humorous dating experiences during the carefree 70s along with stories of what it was like to be a young actor then with friends and colleagues like Robert Redford, Gene Wilder, and Dustin Hoffman.

But it is Grodin's tales of the lives he's helped save with his relentless advocacy work that make you realize what a great guy Charles Grodin really is. We are lucky that the nice guy his friends call, "Chuck" brings us along to share a little of his journey of how he got to be who he really is!

The author is donating 100 percent of his royalties from sales of this book to Mentoring USA, a New York City based nonprofit that forges powerful, transformative connections for young people through the advocacy and involvement of mentors.
In a wise, warmhearted memoir that celebrates her extraordinary life and stellar career, Swoosie Kurtz welcomes readers into her world, sharing personal misadventures and showbiz lore and candidly reflecting on the intimate journey of caring for an aging parent. Told with intelligence and Swoosie’s hallmark comedic timing, Part Swan, Part Goose makes a powerful statement about womanhood, work and family.

Swoosie’s is the kind of memoir that doesn’t come without a fascinating back story: Enter the parents, Frank and Margo Kurtz. Frank, an Olympic diving medalist, later became one of the most decorated aviators in American history. He flew a record number of missions in a cobbled-together B-17D Flying Fortress called “The Swoose,” now housed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Margo chronicled their early years together in her memoir, My Rival, the Sky, published by Putnam in 1945. The book ends with the young couple happily anticipating the birth of a baby to be named after the indomitable Swoose.

Today, Margo, who is approaching her hundredth birthday, lives with Swoosie. As Margo’s reality drifts freely between her morning coffee and a 1943 war bond tour, Swoosie struggles to stay ahead of her mother’s increasing needs while navigating the pitfalls and pratfalls of the entertainment industry. This precarious moment in time is bittersweet and occasionally overwhelming, but every day is oxygenated with laughter and love. The careful weaving of Swoosie’s story with passages from My Rival, the Sky creates a vivid portrait of the invincible mother-daughter bond between the two women.

Part Swan, Part Goose is that rare Hollywood memoir that takes us behind the curtain but doesn’t live there; its heart is solidly at home. It doesn’t pretend to tell all, but what it does tell is deeply resonant for millions caring for aging parents, timely and topical for book clubs and entertaining as hell for readers in general.
Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code-named “Dr. Feelgood,” developed a unique “energy formula” that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures, including President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of “vitamins and hormones,” according to Jacobson) just before his first debate with Vice President Richard Nixon. The shot into JFK’s throat not only cured his laryngitis, but also diminished the pain in his back, allowed him to stand up straighter, and invigorated the tired candidate. Kennedy demolished Nixon in that first debate and turned a tide of skepticism about Kennedy into an audience that appreciated his energy and crispness. What JFK didn’t know then was that the injections were actually powerful doses of a combination of highly addictive liquid methamphetamine and steroids.

Author and researcher Rick Lertzman and New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes reveal heretofore unpublished material about the mysterious Dr. Feelgood. Through well-researched prose and interviews with celebrities including George Clooney, Jerry Lewis, Yogi Berra, and Sid Caesar, the authors reveal Jacobson’s vast influence on events such as the assassination of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy-Khrushchev Vienna Summit, the murder of Marilyn Monroe, the filming of the C. B. DeMille classic The Ten Commandments, and the work of many of the great artists of that era. Jacobson destroyed the lives of several famous patients in the entertainment industry and accidentally killed his own wife, Nina, with an overdose of his formula.
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