Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr

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The Surprising Story of Hedy Lamarr, "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"

As a teenage actress in 1920s Austria, performing on the stage and in film in light comedies and musicals, Hedy Kiesler, with her exotic beauty, was heralded across Europe by her mentor, Max Reinhardt. However, it was her nude scene, and surprising dramatic ability, in Ecstasy that made her a star. Ecstasy's notoriety followed her for the rest of her life. She married one of Austria's most successful and wealthy munitions barons, giving up her career for what seemed at first a fairy-tale existence. Instead, as war clouds loomed in the mid-1930s, Hedy discovered that she was trapped in a loveless marriage to a controlling, ruthless man who befriended Mussolini, sold armaments to Hitler, yet hid his own Jewish heritage to become an "honorary Aryan."

She fled her husband and escaped to Hollywood, where M-G-M changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and she became one of film's most glamorous stars. She worked with such renowned directors as King Vidor, Victor Fleming, and Cecil B. DeMille, and appeared opposite such respected actors as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, and James Stewart. But as her career waned, her personal problems and legal wranglings cast lingering shadows over her former image. It wasn't until decades later that the world was stunned to learn of her unexpected role as the inventor of a technology that has become an essential part of everything from military weaponry to cell phones—proof that Hedy Lamarr was far more than merely Delilah to Victor Mature's Samson. She demonstrated a creativity and an intelligence she had always possessed.
Stephen Michael Shearer's in-depth and meticulously researched biography, written with the cooperation of Hedy's children, intimate friends, and colleagues, separates the truths from the rumors, the facts from the fables, about Hedy Lamarr, to reveal the life and character of one of classic Hollywood's most beautiful and remarkable women.

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About the author

STEPHEN MICHAEL SHEARER is the author of Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life. He has written for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and is also a former model and actor, having appeared on stage, television, and in film. Shearer currently resides in Minnesota and New York City.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Macmillan
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Published on
Sep 28, 2010
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9781429908207
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The internationally acclaimed actress Patricia Neal has been a star on stage, film, and television for nearly sixty years. On Broadway she appeared in such lauded productions as Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest, for which she won the very first Tony Award, and The Miracle Worker. In Hollywood she starred opposite the likes of Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, and Tyrone Power in some thirty films. Neal anchored such classic pictures as The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Face in the Crowd, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Alma Brown in Hud, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1963. But there has been much, much more to Neal's life. She was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926, in Packard, Kentucky, though she spent most of her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. Neal quickly gained attention for her acting abilities in high school, community, and college performances. Her early stage successes were overshadowed by the unexpected death of her father in 1944. Soon after she left New York for Hollywood in 1947, Neal became romantically involved with Gary Cooper, her married co-star in The Fountainhead, an attachment which brought them both a great deal of notoriety in the press and a great deal of heartache in their personal lives. In 1953, Neal married famed children's author Roald Dahl, a match that would bring her five children and thirty years of dramatic ups and downs. In 1961, their son, Theo, was seriously injured in an automobile accident and required multiple neurosurgeries and years of rehabilitation; the following year their daughter, Olivia, died of measles. At the pinnacle of her screen career, Patricia Neal suffered a series of strokes which left her in a coma for twenty-one days. Variety even ran a headline erroneously stating that she had died. At the time, Neal was pregnant with her and Dahl's fifth child, Lucy, who was born healthy a few months later. After a difficult recovery, Neal returned to film acting, earning a second Academy Award nomination for The Subject Was Roses. She appeared in a number of television movie roles in the 1970s and 1980s and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Dramatic TV Movie in 1971 for her role in The Homecoming.

Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life is the first critical biography detailing the actress's impressive film career and remarkable personal life. Author Stephen Michael Shearer has conducted numerous interviews with Neal, her professional colleagues, and her intimate friends and was given access to the actress's personal papers. The result is an honest and comprehensive portrait of an accomplished woman who has lived her life with determination and bravado.

New York Times bestseller—now a major motion picture directed by and starring James Franco!

From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.

In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.

Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Actor Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar and longtime best friend, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, unraveling mysteries for fans (like, who is Steven? And what’s with that hospital on Guerrero Street?)—as well as the most important question: how the hell did a movie this awful ever get made? But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
The fate of the USS Flier is one of the most astonishing stories of the Second World War. On August 13, 1944, the submarine struck a mine and sank to the bottom of the Sulu Sea in less than one minute, leaving only fourteen of its crew of eighty-six hands alive. After enduring eighteen hours in the water, eight remaining survivors swam to a remote island controlled by the Japanese. Deep behind enemy lines and without food or drinking water, the crewmen realized that their struggle for survival had just begun.

 

On its first war patrol, the unlucky Flier made it from Pearl Harbor to Midway where it ran aground on a reef. After extensive repairs and a formal military inquiry, the Flier set out once again, this time completing a distinguished patrol from Pearl Harbor to Fremantle, Western Australia. Though the Flier’s next mission would be its final one, that mission is important for several reasons: the story of the Flier’s sinking illuminates the nature of World War II underwater warfare and naval protocol and demonstrates the high degree of cooperation that existed among submariners, coast watchers, and guerrillas in the Philippines.

 

The eight sailors who survived the disaster became the first Americans of the Pacific war to escape from a sunken submarine and return safely to the United States. Their story of persistence and survival has all the elements of a classic World War II tale: sudden disaster, physical deprivation, a ruthless enemy, and a dramatic escape from behind enemy lines. In The USS Flier: Death and Survival on a World War II Submarine, noted historian Michael Sturma vividly recounts a harrowing story of brave men who lived to return to the service of their country.

"Spares no details." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"An incredible read." —Richard Donner, Director

"People always ask me about life after childhood stardom. What would I say to parents of children in the industry? My only advice, honestly, is to get these kids out of Hollywood and let them lead normal lives." —Corey Feldman

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.

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