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Title: Hollywood Bad Boys - Loud, Fast and Out of Control
Author: James Robert Parish
Copyright: © 2002
Publisher: Contemporary Books
Relevance: Any reporter covering the entertainment or movie beats. Also useful for investigative reporters.
Review: From Ben Affleck to Gig Young, Hollywood Bad Boys takes readers through some of the many down and dirty stories that Hollywood hunks (and hunk wannabes) want to keep hidden from their adoring public. In the process, readers are treated to the horrible and pathetic secrets that most fans don't know (and likely wouldn't want to know) about their favorite stars.
Author James Robert Parish gives us short biographical vignettes on 70 stars from the time Hollywood first "went talkies" to the present day. Parish is competent at digging up the dirt and dishing it out with delectable prowess. He provides an entertaining and revealing look behind many of the men who comprise (or comprised) Hollywood's A List. (For a similar book aimed at female stars, check out Hollywood Divas).
Each mini biography can feature a brief historical backgrounder, parental lineage, first film or stage projects, and why he has become a Hollywood bad boy, either through drinking, sex, drugs, or other examples of moral turpitude.
Another interesting aspect of Hollywood Bad Boys is that it gives the true full name of all our favorite stars. For example, do most people know that Ben Affleck's middle name is "Geza"? How about Alec Baldwin's middle name "Rae"? John Barrymore doesn't seem quite as majestic when one knows his birth name was "John Sydney Blyth". How about Robert Blake? His real name is Michael James Vijencio Gubitosi! Now there's a mouthful!
That Lovable Tramp
One of the main things Parish dishes in this book is dirt and lots of it. Parish does this with both aplomb and lip smacking zeal. For example, when describing Charlie Chaplin, Parish writes: "beyond his comic genius, the five-foot, four-and-one-half-inch, Sir Charles remains legendary in another arena -- that of a great lover. Boastful of being extremely well endowed and having tremendous sexual stamina, he had a strong penchant for bedding underage women. It was a proclivity that dragged the world's first international movie star into several scrapes".
First there was Chaplin's the love affair with 15-year-old chorus girl, Hetty Green (when he was 19). Next, there was the 14-year-old actress Mildred Harris (whose mother encouraged the unlikely relationship and forced Charlie to marry the young girl upon a false accusation that she was pregnant). Details of his life continue including his 1942 relationship with playwright Eugene O'Neill's 17-year-old daughter, Oona, and his eventual arrest by the FBI for violating the Mann Act (concerning Interstate prostitution). Of course, most of these stories were covered up by the studio's PR machine.
According to Parish, Hogan's Heroes' Bob Crane was also leading a double life. On the one hand, his comedic genius and affable attitude made him the perfect wholesome star made famous in TV shows such as Hogan's Heroes. On the other hand, he apparently had many sexual addictions which led him into what Parish depicts as "kinky sex with female pick-ups". Parish's book also intimates Crane's death was related to his S&M sex activities: "Part of Crane's routine was to videotape and photograph these intents (often S&M sex sessions) and also to show these 'special' photo albums (or a screening of one of his x-rated videotapes) for family, friends, co-workers and even his young son from his second marriage". Good family values indeed.
Then there is Bing Crosby, born Harry Lillis Crosby. On-screen Crosby had an image of "the pipe smoking, mellow crooner, with the big ears that starred in all those Road movies with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour." Behind the scenes, however, Crosby's life was anything but calm and sedate. Instead, it was filled with brawling, drunkenness, Mafia figures, car accidents -- and much sorrow.
Dreaming of a White Christmas...
For example Parish writes, "several of the superstar's four sons by his first marriage were at one time or another heavy alcoholics. Two of them committed suicide. A third son wrote a damning book about living with Bing as a punishing father". According to Parish, the FBI was also interested in Crosby who, like Frank Sinatra, "not only had a fascination with gangsters, but often hung with them".
Crosby's first brush with the law involved a time when he and his brother did a dine-and-dash at a local Chinese restaurant in Portland. Another time, involved "a well-liquored Bing" caused a traffic accident where he and his passenger were propelled over the windshield of his car and onto the pavement. While Bing was unscathed, his female passenger was bloodied and unconscious. He was sentenced to 60 days behind bars, however, with pressure from the studio, Bing was allowed to work each day and return to his cell each night."
Other stars don't fare well either: Russell Crowe's bar fights and troubled relationships; James Dean's ambiguous sexuality and premature death; Johnny Depp's brushes with the law including trashing a hotel suite after his tempestuous relationship with Kate Moss; Andy Dick's predilection for discussing the size of his genitalia and his flagrant drug abuse; Kirk Douglas' (born Issur Danielovitch Demski) sexual proclivities and many failed relationships; and of course, the poster child for substance abuse, Robert Downey Jr., are showcased.
Chris Farley, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and dozens of other celebrities such as River Phoenix, Matt Perry, Sean Pean, Nick Nolte, Jack Nicholson, Steve McQueen have the dubious distinction of rating a biography in Hollywood Bad Boys.
All in all, Hollywood Bad Boys serves up what it promises: a rare look behind the magic curtain at the escapades, troubles, sexual adventures, drug addictions and just plain alcoholism of several high-profile Hollywood stars, and is ideal for reporters new to the entertainment beat -- or those just plain interested in the milk of human depravity.
End of Review
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