The Lives of Famous Actors

Speedbumps: Flooring it Through Hollywood

By Teri Garr with Henriette Mantel

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"...the popular Oscar- nominated actress muses about movies, men, motherhood, and MS in a book that is both Hollywood hilarious and personally moving.

From Speedbumps:

I was originally up for the principal female role in Young Frankenstein . Mel Brooks was directing. He had just finished Blazing Saddles , and was at the top of the comedy world. Mel had picked me out of five hundred girls, but admitted that he was still trying to convince Madeline Kahn to take the lead role. After I auditioned three times, Madeline finally did decide to take the part of the fianc e. I was crushed. I’d never come so close to getting a major part in a major movie. But then Mel told me that if I came back the next day with a German accent I could read for the part of Inga, Gene Wilder’s buxom lab assistant. A German accent in twenty-four hours? Luckily, I was still on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, and, as fate would have it, Cher’s wig stylist was German. So, I sat in on Cher’s hairstyling session (that gave me hours of study!) and emerged with a perfect German accent when saying, 'Mein Gott, zis vig veighs forty pounds.' That would translate to the script!

"There was one last thing I needed for Inga. Or two, actually. I realized Inga’s part was really all about the boobs, so the next day I went in to the audition wearing a bra stuffed with socks. People pay over five thousand dollars for a boob job today. Mine cost under five dollars at Woolworth’s, and got me the part, my biggest to date. I was thrilled. I’d been chosen by one of the best. My career was finally in motion. I got to thinking that I should have stuffed my bra with socks for every audition."

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The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage

By Eli Wallach

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"...tells the extraordinary story of Eli Wallach's many years dedicated to his craft. Beginning with his early days in Brooklyn and his college years in Texas, where he dreamed of becoming an actor, this book follows his career as one of the earliest members of the famed Actors Studio and as a Tony Award winner for his work on Broadway. Wallach has worked with such stars as Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, and Henry Fonda, and his many movies include The Magnificent Seven, How the West Was Won, the iconic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and, most recently, Mystic River. For more than fifty years Eli Wallach has held a special place in film and theater, and in a tale rich with anecdotes, wit, and remarkable insight he recounts his magical life in a world unlike any other."

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The Governator: From Muscle Beach to His Quest for the White House, the Improbable Rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger

By Ian Halperin

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"Who is the real Arnold Schwarzenegger? Investigative journalist and number one New York Times bestselling author Ian Halperin reveals the true and untold story about this larger-than-life and often outrageous figure From his childhood in Austria to his rise as a star of American conservative politics, the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger's life reads like the script of a Hollywood B-movie penned by Horatio Alger. In this exclusive peek behind the curtain, award-winning scoop hunter Ian Halperin wades through the myths and rumors to discover the real Arnold behind the icon, a man defined by unbridled ambition and an unending quest for power.

"Based on extensive research, undercover forays, and candid interviews with many of the Terminator's close friends and peers, Halperin brings the myth to life with:

  • a riveting journey through Schwarzenegger's past to explore his relationship with his abusive father and his feelings toward the Nazi party.
  • insights into the shadowy world of bodybuilding and Schwarzenegger's early steroid use.
  • an investigation of Schwarzenegger's reputation as a bully and a womanizer, including his alleged affairs and public accusations of sexual harassment--behavior that earned him the nickname 'the Groper.'
  • an in-depth look at his long-standing fascination with the Kennedys and his remarkably seamless assimilation into his wife's fabled family.
  • a detailed look into Maria's startling weight loss.
  • an analysis of Schwarzenegger's political career, revealing him to be a surprisingly effective and talented governor.
  • the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Kennedy family to influence Schwarzenegger's political agenda.

And finally Halperin uncovers the never-before-told details of an incredible and audacious plan for Schwarzenegger to attempt to rewrite the Constitution and run for president of the United States."

Does not include the latest scandals touching his family.

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The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre

By Stephen D. Youngkin

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"Often typecast as a menacing figure, Peter Lorre achieved Hollywood fame first as a featured player and later as a character actor, trademarking his screen performances with a delicately strung balance between good and evil. His portrayal of the child murderer in Fritz Lang's masterpiece M (1931) catapulted him to international fame. Lang said of Lorre: 'He gave one of the best performances in film history and certainly the best in his life.' Today, the Hungarian-born actor is also recognized for his riveting performances in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and Casablanca (1942). Lorre arrived in America in 1934 expecting to shed his screen image as a villain. He even tried to lose his signature accent, but Hollywood repeatedly cast him as an outsider who hinted at things better left unknown. Seeking greater control over his career, Lorre established his own production company. His unofficial 'graylisting' by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, however, left him with little work.

"He returned to Germany, where he co-authored, directed, and starred in the film Der Verlorene (The Lost One) in 1951. German audiences rejected Lorre's dark vision of their recent past, and the actor returned to America, wearily accepting roles that parodied his sinister movie personality.The first biography of this major actor, The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre draws upon more than three hundred interviews, including conversations with directors Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Frank Capra, and Rouben Mamoulian, who speak candidly about Lorre, both the man and the actor."

Also available as an eBook.

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The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

By Sidney Poitier

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I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done at measuring up to the values I myself have set.
--Sidney Poitier

"In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor.

"Poitier credits his parents and his childhood on tiny Cat Island in the Bahamas for equipping him with the unflinching sense of right and wrong and of self-worth that he has never surrendered and that have dramatically shaped his world. 'In the kind of place where I grew up,' recalls Poitier, 'what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and momma's voice and the voice of your dad and the craziness of your brothers and sisters...and that's it.' Without television, radio, and material distractions to obscure what matters most, he could enjoy the simple things, endure the long commitments, and find true meaning in his life. Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his upbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Just a few years after his introduction to indoor plumbing and the automobile, Poitier broke racial barrier after racial barrier to launch a pioneering acting career. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates to who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition. Here is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life."

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