New titles from others and research in progress

Audrey Hepburn Biographies

August 18, 2012

Tags: Audrey Hepburn, Donald Spoto, Barry Parris, Alexander Walker, Diana Maychick, Jeffrey Meyers, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, "Sabrina, " William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Marc Eliot, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner

"Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn" (Harmony, 352 pages, $25.95) enters a crowded field. Barry Paris's encyclopedic "Audrey Hepburn" appeared in 1996, Alexander Walker's astute "Audrey" in 1994, and Diana Maychick's chatty "intimate portrait" in 1993 — just to mention Donald Spoto's immediate predecessors. At this point, the impatient reviewer is supposed to complain, "Do we really need another biography "of Audrey Hepburn? (more…)

Marilyn 50 Years later

August 6, 2012

Tags: Marilyn Monroe, Lois Banner, Michelle Morgan, Fragments

The first edition cover of my biography
It has been fifty years since Marilyn Monroe died and interest in her continues to increase. Why? Of course, many reasons can be offered. As a biographer, I want to repeat what Matthew Bruccoli said when he was asked why he was publishing another biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald: more facts. And it is true. We continue to learn more about Marilyn Monroe, about the books she read, the meals she prepared, the letters and poems she wrote, and so on. In other words, we are learning more about the person. I just read a piece about the photographer Lawrence Schiller, who pointed out that in the 1970s there was great interest in nude Marilyn Monroe photographs, but that now there seems more interest in pictures that show her as a real person. We are still learning just how complex she was. Let me just mention three books that show how much more there is to know about Marilyn Monroe: Lois Banner's new biography, which has fascinating pages on Monroe's affinity for Christian Science (just to mention one of many revelations); Fragments, a fascinating collections of her letters, notes, and other writings; and Michelle Morgan's biography, which contains testimony from many people whom the other Marilyn Monroe biographers did not interview. I'd love to hear about your own reading of books about Marilyn Monroe and why she remains such a cynosure.