Friday, June 24, 2011

Hooray for Hollywood!

I’ve loved celebrities for as long as I can remember, probably because my dad loved movies and television. My very first memory is of the Brylcreem commercial–“A little dab’ll do ya”–when I was less than a year old. By the time I was in sixth grade, I wanted to know more about those celebs I saw on TV or heard on the radio. On a school field trip, I bought my very first 16 Magazine. Sonny & Cher were on the cover. I took it home and faithfully read every word of the entire magazine and my love for celebrity biographies was born. I guess it’s no wonder that I’ve written a few myself, or that I still love to read them. Here are three I’ve recently read and loved. Maybe they will capture your interest as well.

Stories I Only Tell My Friends – Rob Lowe
At last a celebrity bio that really shows Hollywood for what it is. Rob is totally honest about what it takes to make it in the world of movies and television. His honest evaluation should be a real eye-opener for anyone who thinks that the life of a celebrity is all parties and fabulous roles. It’s not, and those who try to make it out to be find themselves in some sort of trouble sooner or later (Think Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton). Another cool thing about this book (although not for co-writers like me), Rob wrote the book himself. That might have given him the opportunity to cover-up parts of his life that weren’t that pretty, but he didn’t. Rob gives readers an honest portrayal of who his is and what he’s done. He also shares some fun stories about those people he has worked with and counted among his friends (Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise among them). If you want to know more about how Hollywood works, then read this book, but be forewarned there are a few instances of strong language and sexual content. 

If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) – Betty White
What a delightful read! I have grown up with Betty White as a part of my television life. I first saw her on Password, the game show where she met the love of her life, Allen Ludden. This book–Betty’s fifth–is a series of short chapters of memoir about people she has worked with on various TV series, her love for animals, and memories from the early days of show business. The book is a quick read–I finished it in a couple of hours–but it is jam-packed with lots of funny stories and a great insight into life in Hollywood. Whether you’re a new Betty White fan, or one who’s been around for awhile like me, I think you’ll enjoy this book. I know I now want to read one of her earlier books just to hear some more of her stories.

I’m Over All That (And Other Confessions) – Shirley MacLaine
I’ll admit, I had lots of preconceived ideas about who I thought Shirley MacLaine was and what I expected this book to be. My husband had worked with Shirley on “The Westside Waltz” and I knew about her almost fanaticism for holistic medicine. I’d heard about her belief in reincarnation. And I knew that she had been a Hollywood jet-setter long before there was much known about that sort of thing. I was pretty sure that she and I would never see eye to eye on anything, especially politics, but I was pleasantly surprised. Whether it’s because of her age (she’s now 77) or the fact that she’s a Hollywood icon who is far past the need to preen for the paparazzi and get her mug splashed across the rags, Shirley is not at all who I expected her to be. Oh, yeah she talks about the reincarnation stuff, and I ‘m sure she really believes it, but everything else seemed to fit right in line with my own system of beliefs, and her stories about her friendships and relationships.