Synopses & Reviews
and#8220;An irresistible biography of the accomplished, controversial actress whose roles on screen and off helped define a generation. Whether you love Jane Fonda or abhor her, Jane Fonda
is a detailed and generous exploration not only of the contradictory world Fonda grew up in but of the many people who shaped her.and#8221; and#8212;Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle
Patricia Bosworth has gone beyond the image of an American superwoman to reveal a Jane Fonda more powerful and vulnerable than ever expected. Fonda emerged from a heartbreaking Hollywood family drama to become a and#8217;60s onscreen ingand#233;nue and then an Oscar-winning actress. At the top of her game she risked all, rising up against the Vietnam War and shocking the world with a trip to Hanoi. While becoming one of Hollywoodand#8217;s most committed feminists, she financed her husband Tom Haydenand#8217;s political career in the and#8217;80s with exercise videos that began a fitness craze and brought in millions of dollars. Just as interesting is Fondaand#8217;s next turn, as a Stepford Wife of the Gulfstream set, marrying Ted Turner and seemingly walking away from her ideals and her career. Fondaand#8217;s multilevel story is a blend of the deep insecurity, magnetism, bravery, and determination that has fueled her inspiring and occasionally infuriating public life.
and#8220;The definitive portrait of a woman conflicted, torn between ferocious ambition, family, and feminist causes.and#8221; and#8212;Gail Sheehy, author of Passages
and#8220;The Private Life does Jane Fonda the service of making us remember why she was relevant in the first place: the movies. Bosworthand#8217;s thorough account of this wild, uniquely twentieth-century Hollywood life makes Jane Fonda the actress even more intriguing.and#8221; and#8212;San Francisco Chronicle
andquot;How to Be a Movie Star
is more than a well-told, thoroughly researched tale about the most compelling movie star of her time. It's the captivating story of how movie-making magic actually happensandmdash;and a truly lively portrait of the greatest screen magician of them all. Mann knows his subject intimately.andquot;
andmdash;Peter Richmond, author of Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee
andquot;Was Elizabeth Taylor the greatest product of the Hollywood star machine or its greatest victim? Or was she, perhaps, its inventor? At a time when celebrity culture seems to be spiraling out of control, William J. Mann's smart, engaging, clear-eyed case study of Taylor's unique life in the spotlight locates the 'real' person somewhere between her private life and her public image. It's a fresh, unique and wholly successful approach to a fascinating story.andquot;
andmdash;Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
andquot;A dazzling and sagacious red-carpet Technicolor guide book to the lost art of Stardom . . . essential reading for aspiring love goddesses and mere mortals alike.andquot;
andmdash;Lee Server, author of the bestselling Ava Gardener: andquot;Love is Nothingandquot;
andquot;When I saw Elizabeth Taylor in person, I suddenly found myself screaming like a teen at a Beatles concert. Mann deftly describes how, with great self-assurance, Taylor shrewdly and methodically orchestrated that reaction on a global scale. This is a smart book about a surprisingly savvy superstar. It's one of the best Hollywood biographies I've ever read.andquot;
--Ed Sikov, author of Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis
andquot;William J. Mann's portrait is meticulous and delicious, capturing the essence of a great movie star, a woman who epitomized the old Hollywood glamour even as she was bucking the system--every system! Through shrewd and intriguing detail, this lively book brings fresh insight into why and how Elizabeth Taylor mesmerized the world she was helping to change.andquot;
--Julie Salamon, author of The Devil's Candy and Hospital
andquot;This is a juicy telling of a screen idol who always did things her own way.andquot; --San Luis Obispo Tribune
andquot;...a richly enjoyable biography...andquot; --The Sunday Times (UK)
andquot;William Mann has picked the perfect title for a biography of Taylor. She was, truly, the last great movie star.andquot; --The Oregonian
andquot;...she knew by instinct, generations before today's crop of starlets, how to interface her personal and professional lives with the public, who adored her for it. Taylor lived out loud, and the world sang along to her tune.andquot; --EDGE New York
andquot;...the sorts of details a reader craves...all are rendered with a verve and fluidity that keep the book moving along in a fleet fashion. [Mann] has clearly done his research and just as clearly adores his subject [...] Taylor was at the furious center of it all, and provides as handy and captivating a guide through [the era] as any star of the 20th century could.andquot; --The New York Times Book Review
andquot;Mann's eminently yummy entry is pretty much everything you'd want in a Hollywood biography... What does make How to Be a Movie Star distinctive is its focus on the changing nature of personal fame as embodied by a woman whose life has consisted of one superlative after another.andquot; --Salon.com
andquot;William J. Mann's ridiculously entertaining biography of Elizabeth Taylor in her Hollywood heyday is yummier than digging into a hot-fudge sundae and a stack of Us Weeklys.andquot; --USA Today
andquot;William J. Mann dissects the crafty machinations of her stardom...andquot; --Bookpage
andquot;...wickedly entertaining biography...andquot; --The Times (UK)
andquot;Mann shows what all the fuss was about.andquot; --The New York Post
andquot;Mann is carving out a niche for himself as a writer and historian capable of presenting fresh information about oft-covered subjects.andquot; --The Washington Blade
andquot;This is an entertaining work, revealing much of the machinery behind star-building and star-maintaining back in the day. The trajectory of gossip queen Hedda Hopper's relationship with Elizabeth--from adoration to loathing--is deliciously conveyed. [...] Mr. Mann does an excellent job capturing the media/public frenzy of her greatest years...andquot; --Liz Smith, for wowOwow.com
andquot;...brilliant combination of history, criticism, and biography...Mann has found the perfect figure for an exploration of the seismic changes that took place in Hollywood--and in American pop culture--between the 1940s and the 1960s. It's a terrific read.andquot; --Connecticut News
andquot;Mann's book underscores the fact that Elizabeth Taylor is--above all else--a survivor...Perhaps that is why she is so relevant and remains, even more than half a century later, one of the country's most fascinating celebrities.andquot; --Lincoln Tribune
"Distinguished celebrity biographer and Vanity Fair
contributing editor Bosworth recounds the life story of an American icon in all its heady--and at times, unabashedly scandalous--glory
. With consummate skill and insight, the author follows Fonda... Bosworth's coverage of Fonda...is as epic as the life that she chronicles. Reading to savor
-Kirkus, starred "[Bosworth's] remarkable reconstruction of long-ago events has a fly-on-the-wall viewpoint, written with such intimacy that it sometimes generates the strange sensation of being present with Fonda and her friends... Bosworth has succeeded in capturing Fonda's step-by-step transformation from wide-eyed, apolitical ingenue to the poised personality of recent decades."
-Publishers Weekly, starred "Watching Jane Fonda wrestle with her many passions has been one of the most fascinating stories of the past fifty years. Brilliant, beautiful, achingly vulnerable, self-wounding and yet with a Joan of Arc sense of self-determination whenever she steps into the spotlight. Fonda is one of the greatest film stars to ever appear on the screen. Her life deserves to be re-evaluated as it is in Patricia Bosworth's Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman."
and#8212;Alec Baldwin "Patricia Bosworth has written an irresistible biography ofand#160;the accomplished controversial actress whose roles on screen and off helped define a generation. Whether you love Jane Fonda or abhor her, the Private Life ofand#12288;a Public Woman is a detailed and generous exploration not only of the contradictory world Fonda grew up in but of the many people who shaped her."
and#8212;Jeannette Walls "Bosworthand#8217;s expedition into every corner of Fondaand#8217;s life makes for far more than a spellbinding biography. It sweeps the reader into a cultural history of the and#8217;60s, and#8217;70s, and and#8217;80s, when this female icon helped define the causes of the era. The access gained by Bosworth is impressiveand#8212;lovers, stepmothers, and ex-husbands share their secrets, adding to what will certainly become the definitive portrait of a woman conflicted, torn between ferociousand#12288;ambition, family, and feminist causes. Bosworthand#8217;s rendering of Fondaand#8217;s interior chaos becomes a revealing probe into the female psyche."
and#8212;Gail Sheehy, author of Passages
"Patricia Bosworthand#8217;s brilliant detective work has unearthed so much about Jane Fonda that I didnand#8217;t knowand#8212;so much feeling, so much courage, so much hurt. Reading this book, it occurred to me that Fonda, despite her brilliant acting, despite her activism, despite her life led in the headlines, was really the archetypal woman of her generation: a woman torn between love and work, family and accomplishment. Bosworthand#8217;s book is far from another Hollywood biography; it is a human portrait and, at the same time, a major American life. Reading this book, living Janeand#8217;s life along with her, is an adventure and a pleasure."
and#8212;William Mann, author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn and How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood "Jane Fonda was born with beauty and talent, which broughtand#12288;her fame and wealth. Now she's blessed with a biographer who knowsand#12288;Hollywood and understandsand#12288;the human condition. Nothing about Fonda's life (her obsession with her looks, her loversand#8212;male and femaleand#8212;her husbands, her money, and her elusive father) escapes the keen eye of Patricia Bosworth, who tells the life story ofand#12288;a cinema icon, one of the most intriguing women of our era.and#12288;You will be enthralled from start to finish."
and#8212;Kitty Kelley, author of Oprah:and#12288;A Biography
"Gracefully written and deeply researched, Patricia Bosworth's Jane Fonda is not only a first-class biography but a thoughtful,sympathetic, yet objective, study of a central figure in the preoccupying drama of American celebrity life as it has been played out over the past half century."
and#8212;Richard Schickel, author of Conversations with Scorsese "As an heiress to Hollywood royalty, survivor of childhood trauma, sexpot, movie star, fitness guru, activist, trophy wife, and serial self-reinventor, Jane Fonda has embodied every theme in modern American mythology. And I can't think of anyone better equipped to tell her story than Patricia Bosworth. Her superb reporting, combined with an equally sure understanding of what the details add up to, has produced a clear-sighted but sympathetic and compelling portrait of a woman who really is an emblem of our age."
and#8212;Amanda Vaill, author of Everybody Was so Young
In the 60s, Elizabeth Taylor's affair with the married Richard Burton knocked John Glenn's orbit of the moon off front pages nationwide. Yet, despite all the gossip, the larger-than-life personality and influence of this very human woman has never been captured. William Mann, praised by Gore Vidal, Patricia Bosworth, and Gerald Clarke for Kate, uses untapped sources and conversations to show how she ignited the sexual revolution with her on- and off-screen passions, helped kick down the studio system by taking control of her own career, and practically invented the big business of celebrity star-making. With unputdownable storytelling he tells the full truth without losing Taylor's magic, daring, or wit.
Readers will feel they are sitting next to Taylor as she rises at MGM, survives a marriage engineered for publicity, feuds with Hedda Hopper and Mr. Mayer, wins Oscars, endures tragedy, juggles Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton and her country's conservative values. But it is the private Elizabeth that will surprise --a woman of heart and loyalty, who defends underdogs, a savvy professional whose anger at the studio's treatment of her led to a lifelong battle against that very system. All the Elizabeth's are here, finally reconciled and seen against the exciting years of her greatest spirit, beauty, and influence. Swathed in mink, staring us down with her lavender eyes, disposing of husbands but keeping the diamonds, here is Elizabeth Taylor as she was meant to be, leading her epic life on her own terms, playing the game of supreme stardom at which she remains, to this day, unmatched.
Was Elizabeth Taylor the greatest product of the Hollywood star machine or its greatest victim? Mann's smart, engaging, clear-eyed case study . . . locates the real person somewhere between her private life and her public image.--Mark Harris ("Pictures at a Revolution").
A narrative account of Elizabeth Taylor's career, with particular attention paid to how the consummate movie star influenced and crafted her image over the years.
Elizabeth Taylor has never been short on star power, but in this unprecedented biography, the spotlight is entirely on herand#8212;a spirited beauty full of magic, professional daring, and wit.
Acclaimed biographer William Mann follows Elizabeth Taylor publicly as she makes her ascent at MGM, falls into (and out of) marriages, wins Oscars, fights studio feuds, and combats America's conservative values with her decidedly modern love affairs. But he also shines a light on Elizabeth's rich private life, revealing a love for her craft and a loyalty to the underdog that fueled her lifelong battle against the studio system. Swathed in mink, disposing of husbands but keeping the diamondsand#8212;this is Elizabeth Taylor as she lived and loved, breaking and making the rules in the game of supreme celebrity.
Acclaimed biographer Patricia Bosworth goes behind the image of an American superwoman, revealing Jane Fondaand#8212;more powerful and vulnerable than ever expectedand#8212;whose struggles for high achievement, love, and successful motherhood mirror the conflicts of a generation of women.
About the Author
PATRICIA BOSWORTH, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, has known Jane Fonda since they were students at the Actors Studio and has been writing about her since 1968.andnbsp; Bosworth has also written acclaimed biographies of Montgomery Clift, Diane Arbus, and Marlon Brando.andnbsp;andnbsp;She lives in New York.
Table of Contents
and#160; Iand#160;Daughter: 1937and#8211;1958and#8194;and#8226;and#8194;15
and#160;IIIand#160;Movie Starand#8201;/and#8201;Sex Symbol: 1963and#8211;1970and#8194;and#8226;and#8194;187
and#160;IVand#160;Political Activist: 1970and#8211;1988and#8194;and#8226;and#8194;307
and#160;Vand#160;Workout Guruand#8201;/and#8201;Tycoon Wife: 1988and#8211;2000and#8194;and#8226;and#8194;439