“Inventing Elsa Maxwell”
By Sam Staggs
One of the twentieth century’s most colorful characters brought back to life in this biography by the author of All About All About Eve
With Inventing Elsa Maxwell, Sam Staggs has crafted a landmark biography. Elsa Maxwell (1881-1963) invented herself–not once, but repeatedly. Built like a bulldog, she ascended from the San Francisco middle class to the heights of society in New York, London, Paris, Venice, and Monte Carlo. Shunning boredom and predictability, Elsa established herself as party-giver extraordinaire in Europe with come-as-you-are parties, treasure hunts (e.g., retrieve a slipper from the foot of a singer at the Casino de Paris), and murder parties that drew the ire of the British parliament. She set New York a-twitter with her soirees at the Waldorf, her costume parties, and her headline-grabbing guest lists of the rich and royal, movie stars, society high and low, and those on the make all mixed together in let-‘er-rip gaiety. All the while, Elsa dashed off newspaper columns, made films in Hollywood, wrote bestselling books, and turned up on TV talk shows. She hobnobbed with friends like Noel Coward and Cole Porter. Late in life, she fell in love with Maria Callas, who spurned her and broke Elsa’s heart. Her feud with the Duchess of Windsor made headlines for three years in the 1950s.
Inventing Elsa Maxwell, the first biography of this extraordinary woman, tells the witty story of a life lived out loud.
BOOKS – NEW
Clark Gable, in Pictures:
Candid Images of the Actor’s Life
By Chrystopher J. Spicer
About the Book
From the very beginning of Clark Gable’s screen career, the life of the glamorous film star came under the scrutiny of the camera. While audiences are familiar with the public Gable as seen through the studio lens, the private Gable as seen in photos taken by members of the public, friends, and family is much less known.
This collection of candid photographs, many of them published here for the first time, has been compiled by biographer Chrystopher J. Spicer from his archives and from sources around the world. As with Spicer’s acclaimed centenary biography Clark Gable (McFarland, 2002), this volume provides rare insight into the life of the man behind the star.
“These distinctively personal images are themselves informative, and Spicer provides a richly detailed narrative to accompany them. Delving into each major area of Gables’s life…Spicer presents an impressive amount of information…this is a thoroughly researched work with great visual appeal that illuminates some of the less emphasized aspects of Gable’s life. Spicer’s empathetic and comprehensive portrait will certainly resonate with Gable fans as well as film historians and enthusiasts and will find a permanent place in both popular and special collections”–Library Journal.
About the Author
Chrystopher J. Spicer has written extensively about Australian and American film and history. He teaches writing and communication at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia.
BORN: May 27, 1911, St. Louis, Missouri
DIED: October 25, 1993, Los Angeles, California
CAUSE OF DEATH: Lung cancer and emphysema
BURIAL: Ashes scattered over Point Dume
Click HERE to watch Vincent Price do the Monster Mash
Hollywood Forever Cemetery: The Unauthorized Guide
By Mark Masek
For more than 100 years, Hollywood Forever Cemetery has been one of the premier burial locations for entertainment celebrities, studio executives and members of the Hollywood film community. Today, it’s one of the top tourist destinations for fans who want to pay their respects to their favorite stars. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery: The Unauthorized Guide” is the most complete and comprehensive directory to find the final burial locations for everyone from “The First Movie Star” to the most recent additions, along with detailed personal and professional biographies.
Organized as four separate walking tours of the property, the book includes nearly 70 names, from the legendary Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Cecil B. DeMille, to more recent additions, including Don Adams, Mr. Blackwell, Estelle Getty and “Vampira.” The book also features the stories behind the stones, including the legend -– and the true story –- behind Valentino’s mysterious “Lady in Black,” the mystery of Marion Davies’ secret child, the ghosts seen at the graves of silent film actress Virginia Rappe and actor Clifton Webb, the death of Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, the secret life and unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor, and the puzzling epitaph on the crypt of gangster Bugsy Siegel.
BOOKS – NEW
“Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats 1927-1950” by Michael Thomas Barry
“Celebrity grave books have become popular over the years and “Fade to Black” manages to do a good job going where many others have gone before, but does so with a twist – everyone included has received an Academy Award. The book is arranged by each year’s Academy Award ceremony beginning with the first awards given out in 1927 and continues until 1950. For each year the author, Michael Thomas Barry, provides a recap of the evening’s ceremony; a listing of the nominees; a brief biography of the winners along with the location of their grave. Along with many photographs, there are also side-bars entitled “Did You Know?” which offers interesting tidbits. Just a few of the Academy Award winning actors included are Mary Pickford, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Jimmy Stewart and many more. “Fade to Black,” which is published by Schiffer, is an out of the ordinary look at celebrity graves that would appeal to a larger audience especially if you are a fan of the Oscars. It’s definitely a must for the libraries of celebrity gravers.” – Allan R. Ellenberger, Hollywoodland
Tour the final resting places of Hollywood’s Oscar-winning legends of the Golden Age (1927 to 1950). Visit burial locations and read shocking life stories and film career biographies of extraordinary actors, actresses, and directors. Stories include famous names such as Mary Pickford, Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney, Ingrid Bergman, and many more. Helpful travel directions allow you to sit back, relax, and hold on, as you get up close and personal with some of Hollywood’s greatest bygone icons.
Michael Thomas Barry has lived in Orange County since 1986. He is a graduate of the California State University, Fullerton, with degrees in Criminal Justice and History. Author of Final Resting Places Orange County’s Dead & Famous.
Click HERE to purchase Fade to Black from Schiffer Publishing
HOW MANY STARLETS (AND SANTA) CAN YOU IDENTIFY IN THE ABOVE PHOTO ENTERTAINING SERVICEMEN AT THE HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN ON DECEMBER 27, 1943?
Okay, how many did you guess. Most everyone recognized Shelly Winters but what about the rest. Here they are:
Christmas was held at the Hollywood Canteen with Santa giving gifts to each serviceman attending. Group photo taken of starlets Shelly Winters, Lynn Merrick, Maxine Fife, Leslie Brooks, Santa Claus (Eddie Cantor), and some of the servicemen at the Canteen Christmas celebration.
Photo dated: December 27, 1943.
Dangerous Curves atop Hollywood Heels: The Lives, Careers, and Misfortunes of 14 Hard-Luck Girls of the Silent Screen
“We were like dragonflies. We seemed to be suspended effortlessly in the air, but in reality, our wings were beating very, very fast.” – Mae Murray
“It is worse than folly for persons to imagine that this business is an easy road to money, to contentment, or to that strange quality called happiness.” – Bebe Daniels
“A girl should realize that a career on the screen demands everything, promising nothing.” – Helen Ferguson
In Dangerous Curves Atop Hollywood Heels, author Michael G. Ankerich examines the lives, careers, and disappointments of 14 silent film actresses, who, despite the odds against them and warnings to stay in their hometowns, came to Hollywood to make names for themselves in the movies.
On the screen, these young hopefuls became Agnes Ayres, Olive Borden, Grace Darmond, Elinor Fair, Juanita Hansen, Wanda Hawley, Natalie Joyce, Barbara La Marr, Martha Mansfield, Mary Nolan, Marie Prevost, Lucille Ricksen, Eve Southern, and Alberta Vaughn.
Dangerous Curves follows the precarious routes these young ladies took in their quest for fame and uncovers how some of the top actresses of the silent screen were used, abused, and discarded. Many, unable to let go of the spotlight after it had singed their very souls, came to a stop on that dead-end street, referred to by actress Anna Q. Nilsson as, Hollywood’s Heartbreak Lane.
Pieced together using contemporary interviews the actresses gave, conversations with friends, relatives, and co-workers, and exhaustive research through scrapbooks, archives, and public records, Dangerous Curves offers an honest, yet compassionate, look at some of the brightest luminaries of the silent screen. The book is illustrated with over 150 photographs.
Check out Michael G. Ankerich’s website at http://michaelgankerich.com/
BOOKS – NEW
Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol
By Donna L. Hill
One of the most alluring, enigmatic, and simply irresistible movie icons of all time, Rudolph Valentino continues to inspire generation after generation of moviegoers. In Rudolph Valentino, The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs, author Donna Hill retells the story of Valentino’s life using a treasure trove of rare photographs. Drawn from the author’s extensive collection and those of generous fellow collectors and archives, most of the images in this volume have not been seen since the 1920’s; many have never been released publicly until now.
Rudolph Valentino was more than the “sheik” of one of his most famous films. He was more than the legendary star who died at a tragically young age. For long-time fans as well as curious newcomers, these remarkable images — candid snapshots at home, traveling, on film sets — reveal the glamour and charm of the man who continues to beguile and inspire movie lovers to this day.
About the Author:
A lifelong film afficionado with a particular affection for films of the silent era, Donna Hill has collected memoriabilia with regard to Rudolph Valentino for over thirty years. The collection of rare photos is shared by the author’s blurb book, Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol, his Life in Photographs. The author lives in San Francisco.
‘Golden Girl’ Rue McClanahan dies
June 3, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — Rue McClanahan, the Emmy-winning actress who brought the sexually liberated Southern belle Blanche Devereaux to life on the hit TV series “The Golden Girls,” has died. She was 76.
Click below to see Blanche and the Lebanese / Lesbian