From humble beginnings, Kenneth Branagh drove himself to dizzy heights of accomplishment. With a West End hit at twenty-one, a lead with the RSC by twenty-three and his own theatre company by twenty-six, no actor of his generation achieved so much so rapidly. And yet no actor has received such relentless criticism. Based on extensive research and numerous interviews, Mark White traces the vicissitudes of Branagh’s career, examining his meteoric rise and the accompanying backlash.
Peter Falk - Just One More Thing
Peter Falk came to prominence as an actor in 1956 in the highly successful off-Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh with Jason Robards. Although he worked continuously for the next three years, bouncing from one off-Broadway theatre to the next, a theatrical agent advised him not to expect much work in motion pictures because of his glass eye. Later, a talent scout for Columbia Pictures described Falk as a second John Garfield, but Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, unfortunately disagreed: 'For the same price, I can get an actor with two eyes.' But in 1958, Twentieth Century Fox came to New York to make a movie - Murder Inc - and Falk landed a juicy role for which he received rave reviews and, incredibly, was nominated for an Academy Award. He was then nominated again for his second film, Pocketful of Miracles starring Bette Davis. Falk went on to become a favourite among filmgoers, yet it was through television that he reached his widest audience as Lt. Columbo, winning four Emmys for the role. Interestingly, Columbo's raincoat came out of Falk's bedroom closet. He bought it years before he became an actor. He's been quoted as saying, 'I wanted to wear something people would remember. Bottom line, it's the world's most famous raincoat.' Just One More Thing is pure Peter Falk, and reads as if he's sitting next to you, chuckling as he recalls his remarkable past.
Marilyn Monroe - My Story
Written at the height of her fame but not published until over a decade after her death, this autobiography of actress and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) poignantly recounts her childhood as an unwanted orphan, her early adolescence, her rise in the film industry from bit player to celebrity, and her marriage to Joe DiMaggio. In this intimate account of a very public life, she tells of her first (non-consensual) sexual experience, her romance with the Yankee Clipper, and her prescient vision of herself as "the kind of girl they found dead in the hall bedroom with an empty bottle of sleeping pills in her hand." The Marilyn in these pages is a revelation: a gifted, intelligent, vulnerable woman who was far more complex than the unwitting sex siren she portrayed on screen. Lavishly illustrated with photos of Marilyn, this special book celebrates the life and career of an American icon—-from the unique perspective of the icon herself.
Stephanie Watson - Heath Ledger: Talented Actor
The Joker in 2008s mega-hit movie The Dark Knight was an incredible, Oscar-worthy performance by this young and troubled actor. Tweens and teens were crazy about the film, and the world mourned when Ledger died. This book examines Ledgers brief career, background, and personal life, as well as the controversies surrounding his death. From his breakout role in the teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You to his Oscar nomination for his performance in Brokeback Mountain, Ledgers biography is bound to intrigue young movie fans. Lives Cut Short is a series in Essential Library, an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.
Michael Feeney Callan - Robert Redford - The Biography
Among the most widely admired Hollywood stars of his generation, Redford has appeared onstage and on-screen, in front of and behind the camera, earning Academy, Golden Globe, and a multitude of other awards and nominations for acting, directing, and producing, and for his contributions to the arts. His Sundance Film Festival transformed the world of filmmaking; his films defined a generation. America has come to know him as the Sundance Kid, Bob Woodward, Johnny Hooker, Jay Gatsby, and Roy Hobbs. But only now, with this revelatory biography, do we see the surprising and complex man beneath the Hollywood façade. From Redford’s personal papers—journals, script notes, correspondence—and hundreds of hours of taped interviews, Michael Feeney Callan brings the legendary star into focus. Here is his scattered family background and restless childhood, his rocky start in acting, the death of his son, his star-making relationship with director Sydney Pollack, the creation of Sundance, his political activism, his artistic successes and failures, his friendships and romances. This is a candid, surprising portrait of a man whose iconic roles on-screen (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, The Natural) and directorial brilliance (Ordinary People, Quiz Show) have both defined and obscured one of the most celebrated, and, until now, least understood, public figures of our time.
Paul Challen - The House that Hugh Laurie Built
At the centre of the critically acclaimed Fox drama House, British actor Hugh Laurie has become the focus of fans across North America, Britain, and Australia. Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series, honoured by the Queen with an Order of the British Empire, and one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive, Laurie has become an icon. But who is the man behind the cane and acerbic wit? A musician? A motorcyclist? A comedian? Laurie is all these things and more. This biography aims to shed light on his childhood struggles to live up to his mother’s high demands and emulate his father’s accomplishments as a doctor and an Olympic gold medalist; his education at the prestigious academies of Eton and Cambridge; his comedic career with Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, and Rowan Atkinson; his own personal struggle with depression; and how he came to be the best–loved curmudgeon on television. Interviews with creator and executive producer David Shore will reveal the Canadian connection to this truly global show and how a Canuck from London, Ontario, made the move to Hollywood stardom. The House That Hugh Laurie Built will also serve as a magnifying glass, providing episode analysis, cast biographies, selections of Dr. House’s caustic wit, and production bloopers and medical mistakes that only a sleuth like Dr. House could expose.
Donald Spoto - Rebel
There's only one true form of greatness for a man. If he can bridge the gap between life and death... if he can live on after he's died... then maybe he was a great man. Whatever's the truth, you've got to live fast. - James Dean America's most enduring symbol of rebellious youth, James Dean has held the fascination of the public since his tragic death at the age of twenty-four more than forty years ago. In the first complete, fully documented biography of this enigmatic hero, Donald Spoto offers a startlingly revelatory look at the short, greatly misunderstood life of an icon who remains frozen in time. With the cooperation of dozens of family members, friends, lovers, directors and co-stars, Spoto vividly describes Dean's electrifying rise to stardom from his humble roots and midwestern childhood; he delves deeply into the tragic dath of Dean's mother when he was nine and his tumultuous relationship with his father, the devastating effects of which would be played out for the rest of his life. Donald Spoto, author of internationally bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, describes James Dean's on-and-off screen exploits while filming the classics East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. His authoritative new biography offers an illuminating perspective on the boy/man who remains the eternal teenage rebel.
Anne Verlhac - David Thomson - Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe. Her very name hints at promise and excitement. She was almost too much - just too beautiful, her face a mask of make-up, her body too provocative, her white skirt flying up around her thighs in a sudden gust of air. With her mouth half-open and her eyes half-closed she is frozen in time, the very anticipation of pleasure. So much for the stereotype that has already travelled around the world several times - no doubt there is a lot more mileage in it. Yet there is so much more to see and to learn about than this overused, overworked, and depressingly vulgar cliché. Another face needs to be revealed, the one behind the mask, bare of make-up, fragile, exposed and moving. Look carefully and you will glimpse a very different Marilyn, the one left behind when the glamorous mask fell and the woman within shone through: a complex woman and a born artist. _Marilyn Monroe: A Life in Pictures_ pays tribute to a Marilyn far removed from the famous construct, from the knee-jerk film-star poses, the commercial, staged images at which she was so adept. The 150 original or unpublished images in this book are the result of ambitious research, selected with the aim of casting a fresh light on the life of this unique star and revealing her moving humanity. The search was for the real Marilyn, not the sex symbol illusion. If this book succeeds in conveying the extraordinary vitality that emanated from young Norma Jean, despite her flaws and the tragedies that befell her, if it manages to portray the extraordinary light that radiated from her and illuminated her beauty from within, if it finally puts an end to the image of the peroxide doll and little-girl-lost, and instead reveals her as an intelligent, headstrong, talented and generous woman, then it will have made a small contribution to her memory and reputation. But we have said enough. Let these images of Marilyn say the rest.
Patrick McGilligan - Alfred Hitchcock
In a career that spanned six decades and more than sixty films, Alfred Hitchcock was the dominant figure in the first century of cinema. His films -- from The 39 Steps to The Birds, from Rear Window to Vertigo, from Notorious to Psycho -- set new standards for cinematic invention and storytelling élan. He was both visionary artist and consummate entertainer ... and became the most widely recognized director who ever lived. In the decades since his death, the public image of Hitchcock has crystallized into a series of iconic images: the macabre Englishman, the sexual obsessive, the Master of Suspense. But this remarkable new biography -- the first in a quarter-century -- draws on prodigious new research to restore Hitchcock the man, in all his three-dimensional glory. Here is the comprehensive film craftsman, forever pushing forward the boundaries of his art. Here is the passionate collaborator, who cheekily referred to actors as "cattle" but invigorated the careers of Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Grace Kelly. Here is the insatiable provocateur, testing the limits of his audience with his cocktails of sex and violence. And here, too, is the private man: dedicated romantic, constant trickster, impotent voyeur, devoted husband, a man who sacrificed his life, again and again, for his work. Like the best Hitchcock films, Patrick McGilligan's life of Hitchcock is a drama full of fresh revelation, graced by a central love story, dark humor, and cliff-hanging suspense: a definitive portrait of the most creative, and least understood, figure in film history.
Eric Lax - Conversations with Woody Allen
In discussions that begin in 1971 and end in 2009, Allen talks about every facet of moviemaking through the prism of his own work as well as the larger world of film, and in so doing reveals an artist’s development over the course of his career. He speaks about his influences and about the genesis of his ideas; about writing, casting, acting, shooting, directing, editing, and scoring - and throughout shows himself to be thoughtful, honest, self-deprecating, always witty, and often hilarious.
Susan Netter - Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
This moving and candid biography tells the story of cinema's best-known celebrity couple. It takes the reader beyond the hype to the flesh-and-blood man and woman who have been married for over thirty years - and who have lived in the public eye for even longer. It is the story of their huge successes, the films they made together - including Winning and Rachel, Rachel - and those they made individually, with Joanne winning an Oscar for Three faces of Eve and Paul for The Color of Money - a long overdue award after his highly-praised performances in The Hustler, The Sting and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Victor Bockris - The Life and Death of Andy Warhol
The only major biography of Andy Warhol, reissued to coincide with his 75th birthday. Artist, filmmaker, magazine publisher, instigator of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) used his canvasses of dollar bills, soup cans, and celebrities to subvert distinctions between high and popular culture. His spectacular career encompassed the underground scene as well as the equally deviant worlds of politics, show business, and high society. Warhol is the definitive chronicle of Warhol's storied life.
Karcsai Kulcsár István - Vittorio De Sica
"Én csak egyféleképpen tudok filmet csinálni. Csak egy alkotó vénám van. És ahhoz hű maradok. Nem érdekelnek új hullámok, divatok, én az emberek érzemeire akarok hatni, az érzelmek pedig időtlenek, nem mennek ki a divatból, ma éppen olyanok, mint száz évvel ezelőtt. Hogy lépést tartsak a divattal, pornográf filmeket kellene forgatnom, közönségeseket, mint amilyenek ma futnak? Álljak be a többiek közé? Én az időn kívül álló filmjeimmel öt Oscart nyertem, az utolsót a Finzi-Continiékkel, amelyért hetvenévesen tüntettek ki. Nos? Ennek ellenére azt kellene gondolnom, hogy tévedtem? Hogy meg kellene újulnom? Ha egy Oscart sem kaptam volna, akkor sem gondolnám. Mert én hiszek abban, amit csinálok."
Akira Kurosawa - Something Like an Autobiography
"A first rate book and a joy to read.... It's doubtful that a complete understanding of the director's artistry can be obtained without reading this book.... Also indispensable for budding directors are the addenda, in which Kurosawa lays out his beliefs on the primacy of a good script, on scriptwriting as an essential tool for directors, on directing actors, on camera placement, and on the value of steeping oneself in literature, from great novels to detective fiction." --Variety "For the lover of Kurosawa's movies...this is nothing short of must reading...a fitting companion piece to his many dynamic and absorbing screen entertainments." --Washington Post Book World
Dennis Stock - Joe Hyams - James Dean: Fifty Years Ago
Like a restless ghost, James Dean (1921-1955) continues to haunt us. Though he died nearly 50 years ago, the enigmatic star of "East of Eden, Rebel without a Cause", and "Giant" still symbolizes the mystery and torment of adolescence, an image that his sudden, violent death fixed forever in the public mind. Magnum photographer Dennis Stock met Dean in Hollywood in 1954 and began to capture him on camera. Shot over a three-month period just as the young actor's star began to rise, these iconic photographs are the greatest pictures ever taken of Dean. Together with Stock's text and an introduction by Dean biographer Joe Hyams, the images provide an extraordinarily intimate view of the cult legend whose brooding good looks captivated fans by illuminating the troubled depths of his character. Published on the 50th anniversary of his death, this is the definitive photographic portrait of James Dean in both his professional and his private worlds, the real man behind the lingering legend.
Mark Zwonitzer - Charles Hirshberg - Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?
_Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?_ is the first major biography of the Carter Family, the musical pioneers who almost single-handedly created the sounds and traditions that grew into modern folk, country, and bluegrass music. Meticulously researched and lovingly written, it is a look at a world and a culture that, rather than passing, has continued to exist in the music that is the legacy of the Carters -- songs that have shaped and influenced generations of artists who have followed them. Brilliant in insight and execution, _Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?_ is also an in-depth study of A.P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter, and their bittersweet story of love and fulfillment, sadness and loss. The result is more than just a biography of a family; it is also a journey into another time, almost another world, and theirs is a story that resonates today and lives on in the timeless music they created.
Robert K. Massie - Catherine The Great
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones. Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.” Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement. The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives. History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.
Irene Gammel - Looking for Anne of Green Gables
In June 1908, a red-haired orphan appeared on to the streets of Boston and a modern legend was born. That little girl was Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables, and her first appearance was in a book that has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 35 languages (including Braille). The author who created her was Lucy Maud Montgomery, a writer who revealed very little of herself and her method of crafting a story. On the centenary of its publication, Irene Gammel tells the braided story of both Anne and Maud and, in so doing, shows how a literary classic was born. Montgomery’s own life began in the rural Cavendish family farmhouse on Prince Edward Island, the place that became the inspiration for Green Gables. Mailmen brought the world to the farmhouse’s kitchen door in the form of American mass market periodicals sparking the young Maud’s imagination. From the vantage point of her small world, Montgomery pored over these magazines, gleaning bits of information about how to dress, how to behave and how a proper young lady should grow. She began to write, learning how to craft marketable stories from the magazines’ popular fiction; at the same time the fashion photos inspired her visual imagination. One photo that especially intrigued her was that of a young woman named Evelyn Nesbit, the model for painters and photographers and lover of Stanford White. That photo was the spark for what became Anne Shirley. Blending biography with cultural history, Looking for Anne of Green Gables is a gold mine for fans of the novels and answers a trunk load of questions: Where did Anne get the “e” at the end of her name? How did Montgomery decide to give her red hair? How did Montgomery’s courtship and marriage to Reverend Ewan Macdonald affect the story? Irene Gammel's dual biography of Anne Shirley and the woman who created her will delight the millions who have loved the red haired orphan ever since she took her first step inside the gate of Green Gables farm in Avonlea.
Christine Arnothy - I am Fifteen and I Do Not Want to Die
The compelling and moving narrative of a young girl caught by the tides of marching armies during the siege of Budapest in 1945. Told with calm compulsive force, and with an intimacy and maturity that defies the author's youth, I am fifteen is a poignant coming-of-age memoir, and a remarkable tale of ordinary lives destroyed by war. Budapest in early 1945: the siege - which was to kill some 40,000 civilians - raged around Christine Arnothy, her family and the various inhabitants of their building. Hiding in cellars, venturing out in a desperate search for food and water only when the noise of battle momentarily receded, they wondered if the Germans from the West or the Russians from the East would be victorious and under which they would fare best. Praying she would survive, and mourning the loss of some of her fellow refugees, Christine found solace in her writing - in pencil on a small notepad in the cellar - and dreamt of becoming a writer at the end of the war. Her subsequent adventures include a dramatic escape over the frontier into Austria, to Vienna and freedom (or so she imagined); then the difficult decision to leave her parents in an Allied refugee camp, while she searched for a new life in Paris.