How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood
Elizabeth Taylor has never been short on star power, but in this unprecedented biography, the spotlight is entirely on her—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...more
Everything that made Taylor who she was is put under the spotlight for this. Her parents and upbringing within the studio system...more
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
Summary: Not a traditional biography, How to Be a Movie Star examines Elizabeth's life in the star system taking particular interest in how she became a movie star while also touching on her infamous love affairs.
Thoughts: I just reviewed Furious Love about Elizabeth and Richard but I wanted to read this too because I've always been fascinated by her. In fact my favorite Barbie as a child was named...more
I actually agree with this author's thesis: that the studio system, the actress's own proclivities, and the public created the star we know as Elizabeth Taylor. I just found it difficult to wade through the gossip to get there.
Normally I would never pick up a book like this because of all its dish, but my book club foisted it on me. (Don't kill me, TS!) I wasn't all that interested in it for the same reason I'm not all that interested in Us Weekly. Actually I loathe Us...more
I am plodding through this; I find Elizabeth Taylor fascinating and I am loving the anecdotes, so I am not sure what I am finding troublesome about this writer's style. It may be that the chapters are a little too long, or it could be that he skips around chronologically. I don't usually have trouble with fiction that jumps around in a timeline, but keeping up with all the people that surrounded Liz and the ones that are being quoted is somewhat difficult. Overall, though, very interest...more
MGM trained Taylor from childhood to play a sanitised, glamorised version of herself. Mann describes her first wedding to hotel heir Nicky Hilton as "more like an extended photo opportunity for a picture that needed to be promoted." The trousseau was prov...more
My mom surprised me on Xmas with this book. Surprising because I knew nothing about it, even though it combines many of my interests - namely, knowing the correct order of all Elizabeth Taylor's husbands, bombshell behavior, and feminism through the lens of the Hollywood star machine. This book has plenty of gossip anecdotes, but the truly phenomenal part of this book is that it doesn't presume to be a full biography, just a...more
My favorite part was the author's account of Debbie Reynold's reaction to Eddie Fischer leaving her for Liz. Apparently, Debbie called Eddie from Los Angeles (he was in New York City) and he told her that yes, he was in love with Liz and he wouldn't be returning to LA the next day as he had planned. In a master move, Debbie showed up, the papara...more
I liked the way the author tried to give every aspect of Elizabeth's life a new sense of goal: everything she did since the moment she woke up to the moment she went to sleep was intended to perfect her status as a movie star. It is just fantasy and theory; but it is very interesting to see how an exercise like this gives a total new sense to everything she did in her life. She had a goal; she had a business; and s...more