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Check It Out

Courier Article by Kate Linderman
Sunday, November 14, 2010

Iconic stars enter spotlight once again

Over the past year, some notable books have been published chronicling the lives of several iconic Hollywood movie stars.

It's strange to think that the same people who were deep in their prime when I was a young person are now classified as "old movie stars," much in the way film icons such as Katharine Hepburn or Cary Grant were 30 years ago.

Two of the books deal with Richard Burton, one of the great icons of British theater and film during the latter part of the 20th century.

"Hellraisers: the Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed" by Robert Sellers, details many of the shocking and truly outrageous adventures that the four men, iconic British actors and carousing friends, embarked upon.

The intertwining lives and careers of Burton, O'Toole, Harris and Reed are followed in this entertaining look at the days when the "bad boys" of Hollywood weren't just bad boys, they were incredibly talented actors and tortured artists.

"Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century" by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, draws on new information and interviews, as well as the love letters Burton wrote to Taylor during their long and angst-ridden love affair that resulted in two marriages and divorces.

In the 1960s and '70s, Burton and Taylor's notoriety and fame were roughly equivalent to that of "Brangelina" today. Their passionate and consuming love was the stuff of the tabloids.

"Furious Love" explores the tempestuous nature of the Burton/Taylor love affair and why, though it didn't last, their love endured until Burton's death in 1984.

"Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America" by Peter Biskind is an overview of how Warren Beatty transcended his reputation as a notorious Hollywood playboy and evolved into one of the most respected actors and directors of the late 20th century. Along the way, there is plenty of dirt about Beatty's reputed affairs with some of his leading ladies, including Joan Collins, Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton and Madonna.

"Paul and Me: 53 Years of Adventures and Misadventures With My Pal Paul Newman" is playwright A.E. Hotchner's recollection of his enduring friendship with Paul Newman. It recounts not only the details of Hotchner and Newman's close friendship but also the circumstances surrounding their very successful charity organizations, Newman's Own (which was started as a prank) and The Hole in the Wall Gang. Hotchner's book is a sweet homage to a truly gifted and unselfish artist.