Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #45: Celebrity Bios On My Bookshelves

Thirteen Celebrity Bios On My Bookshelves

I have always been fascinated by true stories, esp. those involving celebrities. Below are 13 celebrity bios on my bookshelves. While I have completed most of them, there are still some on my "to read" list. For the ones that I have read or at least partially finished, I have included an interesting anecdote following the title and author.

1. Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector- Ronnie recalls the lengths that Phil Spector would go to in order to conceal his baldness. According to Ronnie, Phil would make sure all the lights were off so that she wouldn't see him take off his wig. He'd then go to the bathroom in the dark and rub an acetone solvent on his head in order to remove the toupee glue from his scalp. Ronnie said that the awful smell of the acetone could've killed a horse.

2. Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov- Natalie Wood (who co-starred with Bette in the 1952 film "The Star") claimed that she developed her fear of deep water while working on the movie. The director insisted that Natalie (not a stunt double) dive off of a yacht during a scene. After Bette heard Natalie's hysterical screams, she came out of her dressing room trailer and told the director that she would walk off the picture if he made Natalie do it again.

3. Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye by David Ritz- Marvin recalls with regret his cavalier attitude towards Diana Ross during the recording of the duets album they did in 1973.

4. Dorothy Dandridge by Donald Bogle

5. Dream Lovers by Dodd Darin- During his twenties, Bobby Darin learns that the woman he thought was his sister is actually his mother!

6. Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme by Mary Wilson- Mary recalls how Diana Ross pushed her during the Supremes reunion for the Motown 25 special. The footage of Diana pushing her was edited out of the actual broadcast.

7. Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee by Peter Richmond

8. Impresario: The Life and Times of Ed Sullivan by James Maguire- A story revolving around Ed Sullivan and his hatred of fellow columnist Walter Winchell. It was reported that Ed followed Walter into the bathroom of a restaurant and shoved Walter's head into the toilet while flushing it. The story goes on to say that Ed was laughing maniacally while Walter was in tears.

9. The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White- Little Richard tells the story of a threesome he had in his dressing room at the Paramount Theater with his girlfriend and fellow rocker Buddy Holly. While Buddy was having sex with Richard's girlfriend, they introduced Buddy's name on stage. According to Richard, Buddy was still fastening himself up as he went on stage.

10. Light My Fire: My Life With the Doors by Ray Manzarek

11. Out of Bounds by Jim Brown- Jim tells the story of how one of his "Dirty Dozen" co-stars (singer Trini Lopez) felt that he (Trini) should have a bigger part in the film. After taking the advice of Frank Sinatra, Trini went to director Robert Aldrich and threatened to walk out if he didn't get a bigger part. When Jim and the other actors showed up for work the next day, they were handed some pages of dialogue. It was then that they learned that Trini had been written out of the rest of the script.

12. Pryor Convictions by Richard Pryor- As 6 year old kid, Richard was forced by a 17 year old boy to perform oral sex on him in a back alley.

13. The Temptations by Otis Williams- Otis recalls the songwriting advice he received from Eddie Holland. Eddie said, "Otis, the greatest thing you can do is sit and listen to women talk. Every once in awhile, one of them will say something, and I say to myself, 'I'll use that,' and I go home and write it down."

What are some of the celebrity bios that you've read?

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Lori said...

I have the Jim Brown bio on your list. Another well-written and revealing celebrity bio is the one on Miles by Quincy Troupe.

Holly Smith said...

I'd love to learn more about Bette Davis. I always read fiction...but I should get a few biographies (as much as I love celebrity gossip!).
I would also be interested in reading Marvin Gaye's biography.
Great collection!

pjazzypar said...

Great idea for a TT. I have read several of those on your list. I donated my copy of Otis William's book to the Motown Museum back in 2002.

Since biographies and auto-biographies are among my favorite reads, I have read many, some obscure and some not so. Here is a short list which includes biographies by Dinah Washington, Debbie Reynolds, Susan Hayward, Quincy Jones, Shirley Temple, Luther Vandross, Aaliyah, and Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

Lori is correct. Miles Davis's auto-biography was well written and very revealing.

michelle said...

Wow this is a great TT list. I think I would especially like to read: Dream Lovers by Dodd Darin and Light My Fire...Thanks!

Chelle Y. said...

I love biographies. People's lives are so interesting.

pussreboots said...

I've read one of Tim Allen's books and one by Drew Carey. Happy TT.

Michelle said...

Great list of Bio's to read. I've always been interested in the Doors and Bette Davis. Sounds like you have some serious reading to do. Happy TT!!

Jay said...

I don't think I've read any celebrity bios. I have read some sports bios though. I've read at least three Roberto Clemente bios, and several others of my favorite sports "heroes."

SandyCarlson said...

That had to be a strange killer experience for Bobby Darin.

Janet said...

Poor Richard Pryor...the live he had as a child...

I'd love to read Little Richard's bio!

I've read bios by or about Harpo Marx, Malcolm X, Katherine Hepburn, Ruth Gordon, Helen Hayes and others that escape my memory right now.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'd love to read some of those. As for me, I've got Lemmy, Sting, and Tommy Lee -- oh, and Dave Navarro! Waiting on Mt. TBR. As soon as I can...

kay said...

I haven't ready many celebrity bios--only Katherine Hepburn that I remember, but I bet some of the ones you mentioned are very interesting.

shaunesay said...

I'm trying to think if I have read any bio's, isn't that sad? The only one that comes to mind was called "Making the Mummies Dance" by Thomas Hoving who was the director for the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 67-77. I'm not sure it counts as a "bio" but the trip I recently took to Hershey Pennsylvania that TT'd about last week had me very interested in Milton Hershey's life, not sure if he'd qualify as a celeb though. Does Hatshepsut count? ;)

Good list, and Happy TT!

Open Grove Claudia said...

Wow, I was just thinking about Dorthy Dandridge. I wasn't even sure I was looking for her - you know. Thanks for the prompt - you're heaven sent. Of course! :)

You are such an interesting person Malcolm - deep and yet very fun. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself

Happy TT!

Lori said...

I could never get in to have quite a selection:) Happy TT.

Malcolm said...

Lori: My brother-in-law has raved about a Miles Davis bio that he read. I will have to ask him which one he read when I see him this weekend.

Holly: From time to time, TCM airs a documentary about Bette Davis. I've seen it a couple of times. Because of your love for celebrity gossip, I would recommend the books "Did She or Didn't She" and "Did He or Didn't He". Both books go behind the bedroom doors of famous men and women.

Pjazzy: All of those you listed sound interesting. I can't wait for TCM to show "I Want To Live" again. "No dice!"

Michelle S.: Dream Lovers was a pretty quick read. The Bobby Darin biopic "Beyond the Sea" starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth wasn't bad either.

Chelle Y.: Thanks for commenting.

Pussreboots: I remember there was a Tim Allen book called "Don't Stand Too Close To A Naked Man" and one by Drew Carey called "Dirty Jokes and Beer" during my early days of working in bookstores back in the mid 90s.

Michelle: I used to swear that I would catch up on my reading, but I quit kidding myself a long time ago. I will get to some of these though.

Jay: I never thought about it, but Jim Brown's book is one of those that is both a celeb/sports bio. I remember reading a Roberto Clemente book way back when I was in grade school.

Sandy: The revelation that Bobby's sister was really his mom was devastating to him.

Janet: One of the things that I liked about Little Richard's bio is that he was very forthcoming about the most sordid details of his life. I also read "The Autobio of Malcolm X". I made the mistake of loaning it to a niece and never got it back.

Susan: I had never heard the term "Mt. TBR" until now. Thanks to Google, for setting me straight.

Kay: The Hepburn bio sounds interesting. Although she's not one of my favorite actresses, I thought she was fascinating.

Shaunesay: I'l bet chocolate lovers would consider Hershey to be a celeb. Because I have a craving for chocolate right now, I'm gonna fix myself a mug of Suisse Mocha.

Open Grove Claudia: Thanks for the kind words. Once the NBA and NHL playoffs end, I'll try to make some more time to knock off some of these bios I haven't read yet.

Lori: Thanks for stopping by.

SJ Reidhead said...

Mine are baseball bios, many of them signed. My treasure is Ted Williams' personally inscribed to me.

The Pink Flamingo

Juliana RW said...

Nope... You have lots of books on ur bookshelves :D

Mine in here Thanks

Lex Valentine said...

I have Motley Crue's The Dirt, Tommy Lee's Tommyland, Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries, Traci Lords' book, and a couple of books about Jim Morrison, including the Jim and Pam book which is a very good one.

I'll bet the Ed Sullivan book was good. I'll have to look for it.

Hootin' Anni said...

I love biographies!!! Truly love them!!! I'm reading now the autobiography of Ingrid Bergman [from Casablanca fame]...what a trip.

My T 13 is shared, I hope you can find time to stop by if you haven't already! happy thursday!!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

You are soo well read

Amy Ruttan said...

I just read the John Barrowman Bio. I also have assorted Royal Family member's Bio's including one that was published when Queen Victoria died, so it's old.

I also have Laura Ingalls Wilder's Bio and LM Montgomery. Two of my favorite childhood authors. I think I also have Tolkein's childhood in South Africa.

I also just bought my father Peter Seller's biography. I'll have to steal it from him and read it. LOL!

Unknown said...

Did Phil really think Ronnie wouldn't notice? *shaking head sadly*

The Gal Herself said...

I read Dream Lovers and the part that stayed with me was Dodd Darin wondering if his father had to do his grandmother to get to his mother. EW! ICK! All of these books make me profoundly grateful to be so profoundly anonymous and average!

BTW, re: our comment on my TT: Judith Krantz is on the bestseller list of best selling authors, but just not the top the 13. Definitely top 20, though. And I think Agatha Christie isn't included because this particular list didn't start tabulating until 1949.

Chris said...

Great list Malcom. I've not read any of those, but I find myself enjoying most biographies when I do read them. Happy TT

Cindy Swanson said...

I love celebrity bio's--like you, I'm totally fascinated with them. I recently read Goldie Hawn's--I picked it up for a buck at the Dollar Tree, and it was actually very interesting. I've read just about every book written about Elizabeth Taylor (not proud of it, just fascinated about her life!) :) I've also read ones about or by Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Eddie Fisher,Lana Turner...the list goes on and on. I don't own many of them, though...I usually check them out of the library.

Cindy Swanson said...

Hootin Anni's post reminded me...I just recently read a bio of Ingrid Bergman. I also read one of Vivien Leigh. And one of Diahann Carroll. I'm sure there's a ton more I can't recall right now...

Rebecca said...

Hey, what happened to your polls? I always like checking them out...

Sadly, I've only read one biography and it was Rosie O'Donnell - I read it back when I was in high school and I had a favorable impression of her. But that biography gave me a peek at what was to come, and I sure don't have a favorable opinion of her anymore.

So out of all the ones you have, which one would you recommend the most?

maryt/theteach said...

Gee, Malcolm, I don't read celebrity bios on the whole. But you've read some that I would like to read...Marvin Gaye for one. But thank you the list. I'm going to keep it and who knows... I do read memoirs though. :D

X. Dell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
X. Dell said...

I wouldn't call it a great bio, but I've recently re-read You Send Me: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke by Daniel Wolf, S.R. Crain, Cliff White, and David Tennenbaum. Cooke's nephew came out with a biography, Our Uncle Sam that I'm dying to read next.

Tina@ SendChocolateNow said...

Very interesting list, loved the trivia about the biographies. Thanks for sharing, it was an enjoyable read. My T13 is up, too. Visit if you get a chance. 13 Songs in Heavy Rotation on my iPod

Malcolm said...

S.J.: Wow, you have a signed copy of Teddy Ballgame's bio... that's cool as hell!

Picturing of Life: Thanks for visiting

Winter: All of those sound interesting. I did read excerpts of "The Heroin Diaries". I had heard that there were plans to do a movie version of "Dirt". I don't know if the plans have fallen through or not.

Hootin' Anni: I'd like to read Ingrid's autobio and get her take on working with people like Bogie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Cary Grant. I'd also like to hear her talk about her relationship with director Roberto Rossellini and how it nearly ruined her career.

Marcia: Thanks

Amy: Although I haven't read any Peter Sellers bios, I have picked up bits and pieces about his personal life. From what I've heard, he seemed to both brilliant and troubled.

Alice: Vanity, thy name is Phil Spector.

The Gal Herself: I had forgotten about Dodd had wondered about Bobby Darin's relationship with Sandra Dee. Maybe I tried to suppress that part.

Thanks for responding to my comments regarding Krantz and Christie. Because Christie didn't stop writing until the early 70s, I was sure that some of her post-1949 work would have made the list.

Chris: Thanks for stopping by.

Cindy: I had no idea that you were a fan of celebrity bios. Then again, why would I? Although I haven't read any bios on the subjects you listed, I've read articles in print/on the Internet about all of them.

You may have seen that TV biopic about Judy Garland starring Judy Davis. Since I didn't realize it was on, I only caught the last half of it when it aired on Lifetime a couple of years ago. Judy Davis was magnificent!

Frigga: Since I couldn't come up with an interesting poll, I decided to pass on doing one this week. However, I will have one up within the next day or so.

You mentioned that you don't have a favorable impression of Rosie O'Donnell anymore. Enlighten me... why is that?

Of the bios that I've read, the ones I would recommend most are:

Dream Lovers

The Life and Times of Little Richard

The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles

Deliver Us From Temptation: The Tragic and Shocking Story of the Temptations and Motown

Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme

Pryor Convictions

The Teach: I think you would enjoy the Marvin Gaye book "Divided Soul". Since there will be a movie coming out about his life within the next year or so, I plan to re-read it.

X. Dell: The 1st Sam Cooke book you mentioned is on one of my shelves. One of these days I'll finish it.

Tic: Thanks for visiting. If I haven't already, I'll be sure to check out your T13 for this week.

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