Almost two decades after his death, John Wayne is still America's favorite movie star. More than an actor, Wayne is a cultural icon whose stature seems to grow with the passage of time. In this illuminating biography, Ronald L. Davis focuses on Wayne's human side, portraying a complex personality defined by frailty and insecurity as well as by courage and strength.
Davis traces Wayne's story from its beginnings in Winterset, Iowa, to his death in 1979. This is not a story of instant fame: only after a decade in budget westerns did Wayne receive serious consideration, for his performance in John Ford's 1939 film Stagecoach. From that point on, his skills and popularity grew as he appeared in such classics as Fort Apache, Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, The Searches, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, and True Grit. A man's ideal more than a woman's, Wayne earned his popularity without becoming either a great actor or a sex symbol. In all his films, whatever the character, John Wayne portrayed John Wayne, a persona he created for himself: the tough, gritty loner whose mission was to uphold the frontier's--and the nation's--traditional values.
To depict the different facets of Wayne's life and career, Davis draws on a range of primary and secondary sources, most notably exclusive interviews with the people who knew Wayne well, including the actor's costar Maureen O'Hara and his widow, Pilar Wayne. The result is a well-balanced, highly engaging portrait of a man whose private identity was eventually overshadowed by his screen persona--until he came to represent America itself.
Leap of Faith is the dramatic and inspiring story of an American woman's remarkable journey into the heart of a man and his nation.
Born into a distinguished Arab-American family and raised amid privilege, Lisa Halaby joined the first freshman class at Princeton to accept women, graduating in 1974 with a degree in architecture and urban planning. Two years later, while visiting her father in Jordan, she was casually introduced on the airport runway to King Hussein. Widely admired in the Arab world as a voice of moderation, and for his direct lineage to the prophet Muhammad, Hussein would soon become the world's most eligible bachelor after the tragic death of his wife. The next time they met, Hussein would fall headlong in love with the athletic, outspoken daughter of his longtime friend. After a whirlwind, secret courtship Lisa Halaby became Noor Al Hussein, Queen of Jordan.
With eloquence and candor, Queen Noor speaks of the obstacles she faced as a naive young bride in the royal court, of rebelling against the smothering embrace of security guards and palace life, and of her own successful struggle to create a working role as a humanitarian activist In a court that simply expected Noor to keep her husband happy. As she gradually took on the mantle of a queen, Noor's joys and challenges grew. After a heartbreaking miscarriage, she gave birth to four children. Meshing the demands of motherhood with the commitments of her position often proved difficult, but she tried to keep her young children by her side, even while flying the world with her husband in his relentless quest for peace. This mission would reap satisfying rewards, including greater Arab unity and a peace treaty with Israel, and suffer such terrible setbacks as the Gulf War and the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin.
Leap of Faith is a remarkable document. It is the story of a young American woman who became wife and partner to an Arab monarch. It provides a compelling portrait of the late King Hussein and his lifelong effort to bring peace to his wartorn region, and an insider's view of the growing gulf between the United States and the Arab nations. It is also the refreshingly candid story of a mother coming to terms with the demands the king's role as a world statesman placed on her family's private life. But most of all it is a love storythe intimate account of a woman who lost her heart to a king, and to his people.
Extensive interviews and research mark a detailed look at the volatile life and brilliant films of legendary director Sam Peckinpah, who has changed the face of modern cinema and influenced a generation of directors
In a series of funny, tender, and touching dialogues, former Saturday Night Live writer Zweibel recalls his buddy-and-almost-lover friendship with SNL actress Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer. Zweibel claims he "merely scribbled the dialogues playing in my head " and, indeed, these recreated conversations have a neurotic, sarcastic, and vulnerable air of aunthenticity. The actress and writer become fast friends on the SNL set and segue into personal revelation.
This is both one man's remarkable story and an essential guide for anyone who has a celluloid story to tell and the dreams and determination to see it through. Part production diary, part how-to manual, Rodriguez unveils how he was able to make his influential first film on only a $7,000 budget. Also included is the appendix, "The Ten Minute Film Course," a tell-all on how to save thousands of dollars on film school and teach yourself the ropes of film production, directing, and screenwriting. A perfect gift for the aspiring filmmaker.
From Booklist: Actor-director-producer Leonard has a real gift for storytelling that he displays to the fullest in a breezy, readable memoir of his life in show business. Starting out as an actor in 1930s New York in such forgotten hit plays as Hotel Alimony, Fly Away Home, and Kiss the Boys Goodbye, Leonard had the foresight and financial need to leap first to radio and movies, then to television, in which he created or produced such rerun perennials as Make Room for Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, and the controversial (for its time) I Spy. Along the way, Leonard met lots and lots of fascinating people--John Garfield, Jack Benny, Danny Thomas, Carl Reiner, and Bill Cosby, to mention a few of the dozens about whom Leonard has a funny story or three to tell. Some of these stories are well known, such as those of the closeness of the writers, actors, and staff of The Dick Van Dyke Show; others are not, such as those of Leonard's various, sometimes dangerous, adventures around the world while filming I Spy. -Jack Helbig
Star Trek Memories, William Shatner's personal "Captain's Log," captivated legions of fans with its abundance of backstage lore from their favorite TV show. Now, in Star Trek Movie Memories, Shatner picks up where he left off and advances at warp speed from 1969 to the present, relating in equally explicit detail what went into the making of all six "classic" Star Trek movies, while including on-the-scene reporting from the set of the brand-new film, Star Trek: Generations.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year"Easily the best book on Orson Welles." --The New Yorker Orson Welles arrived in Hollywood as a boy genius, became a legend with a single perfect film, and then spent the next forty years floundering. But Welles floundered so variously, ingeniously, and extravagantly that he turned failure into "a sustaining tragedy"--his thing, his song. Now the prodigal genius of the American cinema finally has the biographer he deserves. For, as anyone who has read his novels and criticism knows, David Thomson is one of our most perceptive and splendidly opinionated writers on film. In Rosebud, Thomson follows the wild arc of Welles's career, from The War of the Worlds broadcast to the triumph of Citizen Kane, the mixed triumph of The Magnificent Ambersons, and the strange and troubling movies that followed. Here, too, is the unfolding of the Welles persona--the grand gestures, the womanizing, the high living, the betrayals. Thomson captures it all with a critical acumen and stylistic dash that make this book not so much a study of Welles's life and work as a glorious companion piece to them. "Insightful, controversial, and highly readable--Rosebud is biography at its best." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
Outrageous, outspoken, and uninhibited, Tallulah Bankhead was an actress known as much for her vices -- cocaine, alcohol, hysterical tirades, and scandalous affairs with both men and women -- as she was for her winning performances on stage. In 1917, a fifteen-year-old Bankhead boldly left her established Alabama political family and fled to New York City to sate her relentless need for attention and become a star. Five years later, she crossed the Atlantic, immediately taking her place as a fixture in British society and the most popular actress in London's West End. By the time she returned to America in the 1930s, she was infamous for throwing marathon parties, bedding her favorite costars, and neglecting to keep her escapades a secret from the press. At times, her notoriety distracted her audience from her formidable talent and achievements on stage and dampened the critical re-sponse to her work. As Bankhead herself put it, "they like me to 'Tallulah, ' you know -- dance and sing and romp and fluff my hair and play reckless parts." Still, her reputation as a wild, witty, over-the-top leading lady persisted until the end of her life at the age of sixty-six.
From her friendships with such entertainment luminaries as Tennessee Williams, Estelle Winwood, Billie Holiday, Noel Coward, and Marlene Dietrich, to the intimate details of her family relationships and her string of doomed romances, Joel Lobenthal has captured the private essence of the most public star during theater's golden age. Larger-than-life as she was, friends saw through Bankhead's veneer of humor and high times to the heart of a woman who often felt second-best in her father's eyes, who longed for the children she was unableto bear, and who forced herself into the spotlight to hide her deep-seated insecurities.
Drawn from scores of exclusive interviews, as well as previously untapped information from Scotland Yard and the FBI, this is the essential biography of Tallulah Bankhead. Having spent twenty-five years researching Bankhead's life, Joel Lobenthal tells her unadulterated story, as told to him by her closest friends, enemies, lovers, and employees. Several have broken decadelong silences; many have given Lobenthal their final interviews. The result is the story of a woman more complex, more shocking, and yet more nuanced than her notorious legend suggests.