Silent Star Autobiographies

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostTue Feb 25, 2014 10:32 am

Harlowgold wrote:
Frederica wrote:It would be hard to beat Miriam Cooper's effort for sheer bile, though. It read like she had a checklist of everyone who'd ever done her wrong, or who she thought had done her wrong, or who had passed her on the sidewalk one day when she was in a foul mood, and she was finally getting her chance to pay them back. What a little ray of sunshine she was.


Miriam's book has been on my want list for a long time. Thanks for the warning - it's not now!!


I don't want to discourage you from reading it! It does have some value...I think. I found her extremely unpleasant, but she didn't think she was being venomous, she was just relating the story the way she remembered it (or the way she had heard it, which often happens in the genre). Autobiographies are interesting to read but they're usually historical fiction.

In the "take with a truckload of salt" category, has anyone yet mentioned Adela Rogers St. Johns' books? Her style of writing is very out of fashion these days and you can't trust her as far as you could toss her, but they are interesting and...colorful. Yes, "colorful" is a good word.

Not quite autobiographies, but David Bruskin interviewed the White Brothers in the mid-1970s, those interviews have been published as a book.

Both Olga Petrova and...oh, whatsername, Russian vamp related to musician...both wrote autobiographies, although Russian vamp's was ghostwritten by Sandford Doty; he gets pretty colorful himself writing about that process in Giving Up the Ghost.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

FrankFay

  • Posts: 3166
  • Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:48 am
  • Location: Albany NY

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostTue Feb 25, 2014 5:40 pm

Harlowgold wrote:None of Corinne Griffith's dozen books can truly be called an autobiography although all but one of them are (allegedly) nonfiction.


Her book EGGS I HAVE KNOWN is an entertaining mix of recipes, anecdotes & gossip. She refers to her husband Marshall as "The Marshall without a plan"
Eric Stott
Offline
User avatar

greta de groat

  • Posts: 2013
  • Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:06 am
  • Location: California

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 12:25 am

Frederica wrote:
Harlowgold wrote:
Frederica wrote:

Both Olga Petrova and...oh, whatsername, Russian vamp related to musician...both wrote autobiographies, although Russian vamp's was ghostwritten by Sandford Doty; he gets pretty colorful himself writing about that process in Giving Up the Ghost.


Must be Dagmar Godowsky, i haven't read that yet myself--yes, it's in the library! Thanks for the tip!

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat
Offline
User avatar

Smari1989

  • Posts: 382
  • Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:14 am
  • Location: Norway

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 2:50 am

Frederica wrote:(...excerpt...)
Autobiographies are interesting to read but they're usually historical fiction.
(...excerpt...)


So true.
Autobiographies, even the very best of them, should be treasured first and foremost for providing us with an opportunity to read the events of an "extraordinary person" as that person remembers the events, or wants them portrayed. Of course, sometimes autobiographies can be valuable for providing certain factual information, but they do in the end belong in the section of self-portrayals, not history. People frequently distort and misremember conversations they had less than 10 minutes ago.
They are often fun to read, though.
Max Linder blog: http://maxlinderblog.wordpress.com

My WEBCOMIC, Ticklish Town: http://www.ticklishtown.com
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 10:14 am

greta de groat wrote:
Must be Dagmar Godowsky, i haven't read that yet myself--yes, it's in the library! Thanks for the tip!

greta


That's the one. I'd read Doty's book before reading it, which made it far more enjoyable. Miles Kreuger said she spoke with a theeck Rooooooossssssiaaannnnnn accent, even though she'd been in this country since she was two. That also added to the fun.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 10:28 am

Smari1989 wrote:
Frederica wrote:(...excerpt...)
Autobiographies are interesting to read but they're usually historical fiction.
(...excerpt...)


So true.
Autobiographies, even the very best of them, should be treasured first and foremost for providing us with an opportunity to read the events of an "extraordinary person" as that person remembers the events, or wants them portrayed. Of course, sometimes autobiographies can be valuable for providing certain factual information, but they do in the end belong in the section of self-portrayals, not history. People frequently distort and misremember conversations they had less than 10 minutes ago.
They are often fun to read, though.


Indeed, they are the word version of portraits. Sometimes you wonder what people were thinking, though. For instance, didn't Miriam Cooper realize she was portraying herself as that vengeful and unpleasant? is that how she really went through her life or was her autobiography just a one-time anger dump? If a) sad for her, worse for anyone she interacted with, if b) lousy public image creation.

Sometimes even when people are trying to tell you the truth they get things wrong, especially if a lot of time has passed since the event...or if they've told the story many times. That in itself can cement mistakes (or just plain lies) in memory as real.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 10:32 am

This probably won't do you any good unless you're visiting Los Angeles and care to spend time in an archive, but at least two people that I know of began autobiographies but didn't finish them. Betty Bronson's is in the archive of her papers at UCLA, and Minta Durfee's is at the Herrick. I assume there are other unfinished autobiographies out there, too.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 2639
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 12:58 pm

Frederica wrote:Sometimes even when people are trying to tell you the truth they get things wrong, especially if a lot of time has passed since the event...or if they've told the story many times. That in itself can cement mistakes (or just plain lies) in memory as real.


To quote the late, great Douglas Adams: "It's time to set the facts straight - or at least firmly crooked." :)

I imagine Minta Durfee's autobiog must be quite a read, speaking of facts being firmly crooked - but Betty Bronson's is one that would be very interesting.
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 1:36 pm

Brooksie wrote:
Frederica wrote:Sometimes even when people are trying to tell you the truth they get things wrong, especially if a lot of time has passed since the event...or if they've told the story many times. That in itself can cement mistakes (or just plain lies) in memory as real.


To quote the late, great Douglas Adams: "It's time to set the facts straight - or at least firmly crooked." :)

I imagine Minta Durfee's autobiog must be quite a read, speaking of facts being firmly crooked - but Betty Bronson's is one that would be very interesting.


Betty didn't have a bad word to say about anyone (except Al Jolson, him she didn't like) and her upbringing was about as middle class Americana as it comes. She was a star-struck, movie-mad little girl who made it into her dream job. The Bronsons were also good friends with Anita Page's family.

I levitated off my chair and guffawed in the Herrick Special Collections reading room while reading Minta's autobiography. Frowns and shooshing noises!
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 2639
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 2:38 pm

I believe Betty even got Anita her start in the film business, as an extra in A Kiss For Cinderella, I think.

Speaking of which, Anita was supposed to have spent umpteen years working on her own autobiography. I wonder where that ended up?
Offline
User avatar

kaleidoscopeworld

  • Posts: 253
  • Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:13 am

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 5:21 pm

Not a silent star, but adjacent: Here Lies the Heart by Mercedes de Acosta. I haven't got hold of a copy yet, but this is the book where she alluded to numerous affairs with famous actresses (including Garbo). Some of the women mentioned were furious at being outed when it was published.
Offline
User avatar

Smari1989

  • Posts: 382
  • Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:14 am
  • Location: Norway

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Feb 26, 2014 10:36 pm

Marie Dressler wrote her autobiography (not too long before her death, I believe), The Life Story of an Ugly Duckling. I haven't read it, but according to David Robinson's Chaplin-biography, she claimed more or less to have been the one who discovered the potential in Chaplin, so I suppose her memoir should also be taken with a grain of salt at times (granted, such is probably the case with all autobiographies).
Max Linder blog: http://maxlinderblog.wordpress.com

My WEBCOMIC, Ticklish Town: http://www.ticklishtown.com
Offline

JFK

  • Posts: 1992
  • Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Dressler and Lloyd

Offline
User avatar

FrankFay

  • Posts: 3166
  • Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:48 am
  • Location: Albany NY

Re: Dressler

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 4:20 am



I've heard that the first is largely written by a publicity agent and is not very reliable. It was serialized in the Hearst papers, which may indicate the quality.
Eric Stott
Offline

sepiatone

  • Posts: 2335
  • Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:10 pm
  • Location: East Coast, USA

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 9:38 am

Frederica wrote:
Harlowgold wrote:The Fredrica Sangor Maas book is the most toxic thing I've ever read, I didn't post a interview on the net anywhere because I think want my words to anger the old gal enough to remove her from the living (she went on to live about a decade past publication, making in several years past 100). I hated it so much I declined to purchase it when my library pulled it from their selves a few years later and put it on their "old book sale table" for a quarter ( it was in wonderful condition, wouldn't be surprised if I was the only one who checked it out). She went after nearly everyone in it except for Norma Shearer, complained on virtually every page. I seem to recall the "endorsement" from Kevin Brownlow on the dust jacket was rather qualified and suspect he too had problems with the book.


It would be hard to beat Miriam Cooper's effort for sheer bile, though. It read like she had a checklist of everyone who'd ever done her wrong, or who she thought had done her wrong, or who had passed her on the sidewalk one day when she was in a foul mood, and she was finally getting her chance to pay them back. What a little ray of sunshine she was.


Oh I don't know, Beverly Bayne(second wife of Francis X. Bushman) might be the only one to match Miriam in the vengeful ex-wife department. Recall this thread:
http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.p ... man#p69859
Offline

sepiatone

  • Posts: 2335
  • Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:10 pm
  • Location: East Coast, USA

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 9:54 am

Bob Birchard wrote:Pola negri wrote an autobio
Adventures With D.W. Griffith by Karl Brown is great
I Found My Way by Margery Wilson is wortwhile
A lot of fun is It Took Nine Tailors by Adolphe Menjou
An American Comedy by Harold Lloyd
Such Sweet Compulsion by Geraldine Farrar
Splinters From Hollywood Tripods by cameraman Virgil Miller
The Light on Her Face by Capra's cameraman
A Short Time For Insanity by William Wellman


Gerry Farrar's opera rival, Mary Garden published an autobiography in 1951 "Mary Garden's Story" with a ghost writer. But her wikipedia article disputes how much of it is factual as the singer was already suffering from dementia by the early 1950s. In contrast, Farrar stayed with the silents and made several influential films while Garden made only two and gave up. Perhaps if she'd stayed with silents and found her 'voice' or character she would have been more successful and better remembered as had Farrar.
http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Gardens-Stor ... en%2C+mary
Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 2639
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 2:36 pm

sepiatone wrote:
Frederica wrote:
Harlowgold wrote:The Fredrica Sangor Maas book is the most toxic thing I've ever read, I didn't post a interview on the net anywhere because I think want my words to anger the old gal enough to remove her from the living (she went on to live about a decade past publication, making in several years past 100). I hated it so much I declined to purchase it when my library pulled it from their selves a few years later and put it on their "old book sale table" for a quarter ( it was in wonderful condition, wouldn't be surprised if I was the only one who checked it out). She went after nearly everyone in it except for Norma Shearer, complained on virtually every page. I seem to recall the "endorsement" from Kevin Brownlow on the dust jacket was rather qualified and suspect he too had problems with the book.


It would be hard to beat Miriam Cooper's effort for sheer bile, though. It read like she had a checklist of everyone who'd ever done her wrong, or who she thought had done her wrong, or who had passed her on the sidewalk one day when she was in a foul mood, and she was finally getting her chance to pay them back. What a little ray of sunshine she was.


Oh I don't know, Beverly Bayne(second wife of Francis X. Bushman) might be the only one to match Miriam in the vengeful ex-wife department. Recall this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10601&p=69859&hilit=francis+x.+bushman#p69859" target="_blank


Going by this thread, I think I'm on Bayne's side: http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13296&p=95391. Three words: 'Frank's Baby Elephant' :lol:
Offline
User avatar

Harlowgold

  • Posts: 412
  • Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Brooksie wrote:

Going by this thread, I think I'm on Bayne's side: http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13296&p=95391. Three words: 'Frank's Baby Elephant' :lol:



I am as well - she may have come off "vengeful" but it seems to me the X man gave her plenty to be angry about.
Offline
User avatar

Harlowgold

  • Posts: 412
  • Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 3:13 pm

kaleidoscopeworld wrote:Not a silent star, but adjacent: Here Lies the Heart by Mercedes de Acosta. I haven't got hold of a copy yet, but this is the book where she alluded to numerous affairs with famous actresses (including Garbo). Some of the women mentioned were furious at being outed when it was published.


I read it about a decade ago and I believe she was fairly vague enough that the average reader in the early 1960's might have seen it as no more than warm friendships but then since it's been years since I've read it I may be wrong.
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 3:14 pm

Brooksie wrote:Going by this thread, I think I'm on Bayne's side: http://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13296&p=95391. Three words: 'Frank's Baby Elephant' :lol:


Oh, eeeewwwwwwww!!!
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

David Menefee

  • Posts: 124
  • Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:49 pm
  • Location: Author, editor, and Assistant Publisher BearManor Media

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 4:04 pm

Footlights and Spotlights: Recollections of My Life on the Stage by Otis Skinner (1923), in which he writes about making the 1920 Kismet, which co-starred Elinor Fair and was directed by Louis J. Gasnier.
Offline

Dee Deforest

  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:45 pm
  • Location: Nashville Tn

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 4:51 pm

Oh the Miriam Cooper autobiography ... Wow ... Too bad there wasn't a big demand for the self help books back then because she was really in need of one of those books about letting go and finding some peace. I loved the Marion Davies book..what a fun read! Swanson on Swanson was also really good in my opinion...I'm not sure if the Louise Brooks book qualifies as an autobiography but it's terribly entertaining with her acidic wit..Thanks for the post..I see lots of books here I need to put on my list.

Dee Deforest
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 5:09 pm

Dee Deforest wrote:Oh the Miriam Cooper autobiography ... Wow ... Too bad there wasn't a big demand for the self help books back then because she was really in need of one of those books about letting go and finding some peace.
Dee Deforest


I'm not sure a self-help book would have sufficient for Cooper--I'd think straight on to electroshock would be the more efficient choice. But maybe we unfairly malign Cooper. Maybe Raoul Walsh had a Baby Elephant too.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline

JFK

  • Posts: 1992
  • Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Image Update and a few added titles

PostThu Feb 27, 2014 11:25 pm



ImageImage

BearManor (2009) ........... Doubleday (1960)

The Fields book, with anecdotes on Zanuck, Eddie Cantor, Duggie Wakefield, and Charlie Chaplin,
otherwise glides over her Hollywood career, but Monty Banks drifts through 40+ pages,
including a story of a Joe Schenck New Year's Eve Party that begins with Gracie comically dancing with Buster Keaton,
and concludes with Monty in a pill popping, high stakes, multi-day, card game with Schenck, Connie Bennett,
and unidentified others.

Silent film dabblers DeWolf Hopper, George M Cohan, and Weber and Fields all had 1920s memoirs/"as told to" bios.


ImageImageImage
Doubleday 1927 .............. ....................... Harper & Bros (1925) ......... Boni & Liveright (1924)

...................................................A few star, and behind the scenes, books:
ImageImage
Saalfield (1935) ................................................. Bobbs-Merrill (1925)

Image .................................... Image
Some personal info in the Loos .................................... The Viking Press (1958)
Image ...............................Image ............................ Image
Doubleday (1952) ................................................... Doubleday (1954) ...................................J. B. Lippincott Company (1924)

Image ............................Image ............................Image
International Press Syndicate (1920) .................... Bobbs Merrill (1916) .....................................................Longman, Green & Co (1928)
............................................................TWO INTERVIEW BOOKS (Below)
Image AND Image
Unicorn Press (1927) ........................................................................................ E. P. Dutton (1930)
Table of Contents: ............................................................................................ • Table of Contents:
•Introduction, by C. R. Jones. ........................................................................... • Clara Bow
•Breaking in as an extra, by Laura La Plante. ................................................... • Gary Cooper
•Up from the extra ranks, by Colleen Moore. .................................................... • Lupe Velez
•Achieving stardom, by Dolores Del Rio. ...................... ................................... • John Barrymore
•The leading man, by Ramon Navarro. ........................ .................................... • Mary Nolan
•The leading woman, by Norma Shearer. .............................. .......................... • Victor McLaglen
•The modern westerner, by Ken Maynard. ........................................................ • Betty Compson
•Good girls in pictures, by Lois Wilson. ............................................................. • Rudolph Valentino
•Bad girls in pictures, by Lya de Putti, (Grete Rausch Translation). .................. • Joan Crawford
•Athletics and the screen, by George Walsh. .................................................... • Douglas Fairbanks Jr
•Physical culture and poise, by Billie Dove. ....................................................... • Mary Brian
•The comedian, by Harry Langdon. ................................................................... • Buddy Rogers
•The comedienne, by Louise Fazenda. ............................................................. • Al Jolson
•Children in pictures, by L. D. McKeen. ............................................................ • Renee Adoree
•Animals in motion pictures, by Lee Duncan. .................................................... • Wallace Beery
•Original screen stories, by William Le Baron. ................................................... • Charles Farrell
•Writing in action, by H. H. Van Loan. ............................................................... • Esther Ralston
•The director, by Allan Dwan. ........................................................................... • Ronald Colman
•Directorial training, by Edwin Carewe. ............................................................. • Monte Blue
•The casting director, by Mike Connolly. .......................................................... • Ben Turpin
•The gag man, by Frank Capra. ....................................................................... • Hal Skelly
•Costume designing, by Max Ree. ................................................................... • Buster Keaton
•The feature cameraman, by Ernest Hallor. ..................................................... • Mae Busch '
•The news cameraman, by Bob Donahue. ....................................................... • Lon Chaney
•Men in publicity, by Blake McVeigh. ................................................................ • Norma Shearer
•Women in publicity, by Virginia Morris. ........................................................... • William Powell
•Taking the "breaks", by Reginald Denny ........................................................ • Lily Damita
......................................................................................................................... • George O'Brien
......................................................................................................................... •Maurice Chevalier
...........................................................................................................................•Richard Dix
......................................................................................................................... • George Bancroft
Last edited by JFK on Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:29 am, edited 7 times in total.
Offline

barry byrne

  • Posts: 261
  • Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:56 pm

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostFri Feb 28, 2014 4:32 am

The joint biography of Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon called "Life with the Lyons" dating from 1953 is very brief and is not particularly strong on the earlier silent period.

A lot of attention is devoted to their life and activities in England during WWII where both were heavily involved before and after America entered the war. Doubtless this seemed much more relevant in 1953 than stories of early silents. There is a lot about their children who also starred with them in a long running BBC radio show also called "Life with the Lyons".

Of course, as with any joint biography there is the problem of - here is an interesting story about her now here is one about him, required for balance even though you might want rather more of one and less of the other.
Offline

JFK

  • Posts: 1992
  • Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Silent "Extra" Book + Vaudeville Memoir-Chaplin Mention

PostTue Mar 04, 2014 2:12 pm

Image
Albert BALLIN The Deaf Mute Howls.Los Angeles: Grafton Publishing Co. (1930).
First Edition. Interesting treatise on the necessity for a universal sign-language by a deaf mute, who in his preface claims to be a sometime Hollywood film critic and dialogue writer. Front dustjacket panel depicts the author with Laura La Plante, "beautiful movie star". Includes other photographs and examples of signs. This copy inscribed and signed by the author to the publisher. Near Fine in Very Good dustjacket.Item #9666
Illustrations Index
From the author's preface
"Still another purpose of this preface is to explain the presence of photographs of some of the leading figures of the Cinema. You will observe that I have been happily connected with their business, as a critic, teacher of signs, writer of studio chatter, portrait painter — even as an actor."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have a book somewhere - an adult's childhood memoir- where the protagonist
has an encounter with a young pre-film Buster Keaton.
I thought it might be this book, a playwright's look back at his
childhood tours with his vaudeville family.
But after giving it a quick thumbing- the book has no index-
the only Keaton that turned up was Joe.
However, there are two or so pages on a week-long encounter
with Chaplin, touring in San Francisco, just prior to Hollywood,
and wanting to take young Harrity with him.
Image
Trident Press, New York, NY, 1968.
Last edited by JFK on Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Offline
User avatar

kaleidoscopeworld

  • Posts: 253
  • Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:13 am

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostTue Mar 04, 2014 6:02 pm

Anyone want to talk favourites?

As autobios go, my favourites are Swanson on Swanson by Gloria, and Memoirs of a Star by Pola Negri. Both a ton of fun. Swanson has a lot of self-insight, and it's just a really solid read. Pola brought the delicious drama that I expected. Adventures with DW Griffith by Karl Brown is great, really brought the era alive for me.

I also really enjoy Anita Loos' writing, despite its flaws. She has an agenda, so take it with a grain of salt.

I love them both as actresses, but Marion Davies' The Times we Had was duller than I expected, likewise Colleen Moore's Silent Star. Pickford's Sunshine and Shadows was also not particularly engaging, I thought.

Now I want to track down this Mirian Cooper autobiography, it sounds trashily entertaining.


One that has not been mentioned yet - Asta Nielsen wrote an autobiography, although I don't think it's ever been translated to English. A shame because a German-speaking friend tells me that it has some great stories.
Offline
User avatar

Frederica

  • Posts: 4832
  • Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
  • Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostWed Mar 05, 2014 9:28 am

kaleidoscopeworld wrote:Anyone want to talk favourites?

I also really enjoy Anita Loos' writing, despite its flaws. She has an agenda, so take it with a grain of salt.


I loved Karl Brown, but it was the quality of his writing that stood out for me. Coy Watson, Jrs The Keystone Kid is such a charmer, if I had to pick a favorite it, his book would be it. Honestly, for me most of them tend to go in one eye and out the other, there was such a spate of them in the 50s/60s, and they are often indistinguishable. Currently there seems to be a spate of autobiographies written by aging rock stars. I'm sure they're the last word in veracity, too.

Now I want to track down this Mirian Cooper autobiography, it sounds trashily entertaining.


Welllllll...dunno about trash. No one loves Le Trash more than I do, but Cooper is just plain ugly. YMMV, of course.
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
Offline
User avatar

AManAndAMouse

  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:22 am

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostSat Mar 08, 2014 9:34 am

Although not an autobiography, I found this 'mommy-ography' of Wallace Reid on archive.org. I'm thinking she has an agenda also.

https://archive.org/details/wallacereidhisli01reid
Offline
User avatar

Harlowgold

  • Posts: 412
  • Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Silent Star Autobiographies

PostMon Mar 10, 2014 4:57 pm

kaleidoscopeworld wrote:Anyone want to talk favourites?

As autobios go, my favourites are Swanson on Swanson by Gloria, and Memoirs of a Star by Pola Negri. Both a ton of fun. Swanson has a lot of self-insight, and it's just a really solid read. Pola brought the delicious drama that I expected. Adventures with DW Griffith by Karl Brown is great, really brought the era alive for me.

I also really enjoy Anita Loos' writing, despite its flaws. She has an agenda, so take it with a grain of salt.

I love them both as actresses, but Marion Davies' The Times we Had was duller than I expected, likewise Colleen Moore's Silent Star. Pickford's Sunshine and Shadows was also not particularly engaging, I thought.

Now I want to track down this Mirian Cooper autobiography, it sounds trashily entertaining.


One that has not been mentioned yet - Asta Nielsen wrote an autobiography, although I don't think it's ever been translated to English. A shame because a German-speaking friend tells me that it has some great stories.



SWANSON ON SWANSON is at the top of my list too, Gloria knew what the public wanted even in 1980. I like Pickford's SUNSHINE AND SHADOW well enough, one has to remember it was published in the 1950's and this was about as intimate as autobiographies got back then. I particularly dislike the fact that a number of her biographers knock it while using it for reference to an outrageous degree for their own books.

Would love to know what Olivia De Havilland did to merit Anita Loo's comment about her (albeit in character as the birdbrain heroine of A MOUSE IS BORN) that she was unpretty although possibly it may have just been a dig at her recent "serious" roles in which Liv dressed down (Loos' book was published in 1951). Colleen Moore's was a big disappointment, she talked more about other stars than herself it seemed and nothing particularly revealing.
PreviousNext

Return to Talking About Silents

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DavidWelling, Rick Lanham, Yahoo [Bot] and 9 guests