Shawn Levy

Goodreads Author

in Brooklyn, New York, The United States



Member Since
June 2009

Shawn Levy is the author of nine books of biography and pop culture history. The former film critic of The Oregonian and KGW-TV and a former editor of American Film, he has been published in Sight and Sound, Film Comment, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Black Rock Beacon, among many other outlets. He jumps and claps and sings for victory in Portland, Oregon, where he serves on the board of directors of Operation Pitch Invasion.

Average rating: 3.76 · 5,970 ratings · 720 reviews · 10 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Castle on Sunset: Life,...

3.66 avg rating — 1,923 ratings — published 2019 — 11 editions
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Paul Newman: A Life

3.81 avg rating — 1,455 ratings — published 2009 — 26 editions
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Rat Pack Confidential: Fran...

3.76 avg rating — 1,427 ratings — published 1998 — 14 editions
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De Niro: A Biography

3.78 avg rating — 365 ratings — published 2014 — 12 editions
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Ready, Steady, Go!: The Sma...

3.89 avg rating — 284 ratings — published 2002 — 11 editions
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The Last Playboy: The High ...

3.90 avg rating — 193 ratings — published 2005 — 6 editions
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King of Comedy: The Life an...

3.96 avg rating — 139 ratings — published 1996 — 6 editions
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Dolce Vita Confidential: Fe...

3.99 avg rating — 160 ratings — published 2016 — 10 editions
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Stranger Things. Il libro u...

4.51 avg rating — 1,788 ratings — published 2018 — 7 editions
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Enfant Terrible!: Jerry Lew...

3.38 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2002 — 5 editions
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“What can you possibly say about Rome?
That it's eternal? That all roads lead to it? That it wasn't built in a day? That when there you should do as the locals do?

For millennia, Rome has embodied and repelled every cliché, description, and act of comprehension or explanation applied to it.
As a city, it has been built and destroyed and rebuilt by - and has celebrated and signified and outlasted - caesars and barbarians and popes and Fascists and prophets and artists and pilgrims and schemers and migrants and lovers and fools.”
Shawn Levy, Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi, and the Swinging High Life of 1950s Rome

“A man without enemies is a man without character.”
Shawn Levy, Paul Newman: A Life

“And, so, what was it that elevated Rubi from dictator's son-in-law to movie star's husband to the sort of man who might capture the hand of the world's wealthiest heiress?
Well, there was his native charm.
People who knew him, even if only casually, even if they were predisposed to be suspicious or resentful of him, came away liking him. He picked up checks; he had courtly manners; he kept the party gay and lively; he was attentive to women but made men feel at ease; he was smoothly quick to rise from his chair when introduced, to open doors, to light a lady's cigarette ("I have the fastest cigarette lighter in the house," he once boasted): the quintessential chivalrous gent of manners.
The encomia, if bland, were universal. "He's a very nice guy," swore gossip columnist Earl Wilson, who stayed with Rubi in Paris. ""I'm fond of him," said John Perona, owner of New York's El Morocco. "Rubi's got a nice personality and is completely masculine," attested a New York clubgoer. "He has a lot of men friends, which, I suppose, is unusual. Aly Khan, for instance, has few male friends. But everyone I know thinks Rubi is a good guy." "He is one of the nicest guys I know," declared that famed chum of famed playboys Peter Lawford. "A really charming man- witty, fun to be with, and a he-man."
There were a few tricks to his trade. A society photographer judged him with a professional eye thus: "He can meet you for a minute and a month later remember you very well." An author who played polo with him put it this way: "He had a trick that never failed. When he spoke with someone, whether man or woman, it seemed as if the rest of the world had lost all interest for him. He could hang on the words of a woman or man who spoke only banalities as if the very future of the world- and his future, especially- depended on those words."
But there was something deeper to his charm, something irresistible in particular when he turned it on women. It didn't reveal itself in photos, and not every woman was susceptible to it, but it was palpable and, when it worked, unforgettable.
Hollywood dirt doyenne Hedda Hoppe declared, "A friend says he has the most perfect manners she has ever encountered. He wraps his charm around your shoulders like a Russian sable coat."
Gossip columnist Shelia Graham was chary when invited to bring her eleven-year-old daughter to a lunch with Rubi in London, and her wariness was transmitted to the girl, who wiped her hand off on her dress after Rubi kissed it in a formal greeting; by the end of lunch, he had won the child over with his enthusiastic, spontaneous manner, full of compliments but never cloying. "All done effortlessly," Graham marveled. "He was probably a charming baby, I am sure that women rushed to coo over him in the cradle."
Elsa Maxwell, yet another gossip, but also a society gadabout and hostess who claimed a key role in at least one of Rubi's famous liaisons, put it thus: "You expect Rubi to be a very dangerous young man who personifies the wolf. Instead, you meet someone who is so unbelievably charming and thoughtful that you are put off-guard before you know it."
But charm would only take a man so far. Rubi was becoming and international legend not because he could fascinate a young girl but because he could intoxicate sophisticated women. p124”
Shawn Levy, The Last Playboy: The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa

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