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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool: A True Story

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  460 ratings  ·  91 reviews

On 29 September 1981, Peter Turner received a phone call that would change his life. His former lover, Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, had collapsed in a Lancaster hotel and was refusing medical attention. He had no choice but to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family's home in Liverpool.

A born-and-bred Liverpudlian, Turner had first set eyes on Grahame wh

Paperback, Paperback Edition, 170 pages
Published 2016 by Pan Books (first published September 10th 1987)
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3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  460 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insider's invitation to an operatic swan song. Actually, not operatic as much as blisteringly real, arresting, singular and very beautiful for its own sake. "Film Stars" has a protagonist (Turner) which the reader cannot help but try to embody or emulate: he, too, was an actor and quasicelebrity. There are many STRONG FEMALE figures in the book, Gloria Greahame but only one more...

So what does the goddess eat, think about, say? It's all here--sadness and reality intermingling, everything from th
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a sad tale of the final days of a talented star who had a fascinating career, and a chaotic life. The writer, Peter Turner, was a friend and ex-lover who didn't understand why Grahame had pushed him away, at the time, not knowing that she was sick with cancer. She re-enters his life a couple of years later, when she is in the UK working and he is back in Liverpool, temporarily living at his parents home and acting in a theatrical play.

What disturbs me about the book is how self-centered
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
When Gloria Grahame got sick with what turned out to be her final illness, Peter Turner and his family were there for her. In this short memoir of their relationship and her final days, Turner shines a light on how difficult it is to care for the dying, especially when the person insists that they'll be okay.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool and be slightly hard to follow; sometimes the story is in Liverpool and sometimes it switches to New York or California without any segueway. The stream-of
Jan 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this only because I'm interested in Gloria Grahame. Alas, the book consists mostly of Peter Turner, who's not very interesting, whining (repetitiously!) about the inconveniences he faced as the star lay dying in his home. Boring prose. No sociological speculation or psychological insight. Best to give this one a pass.
Sally Whiteside
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emotional and fabulous. I really enjoyed this story. It gave me a lump in my throat.
Bert Zee
This was a nice story, sad but nice. I would love to read a longer, more in depth biography about Gloria Grahame as I think she was a very interesting movie actress and her story is a great one. Peter Turner’s time with Gloria is told in such a heartfelt, emotional, romantic and beautiful way, it’ll make you feel things. Highly recommended for Old Hollywood fans.

3.5 stars.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stories
I am not sure this is the type of story I should have read when I am sick myself (though to my knowledge not dying like the character) it still felt alarmingly real, maybe the point, it is a true story!
I am interested in how they manage to turn this into a movie. will have to check the movie out if library has it!
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something really sad about Peter Turner's memoir, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. I've long been intrigued by the classic film actress, Gloria Grahame - best known for her work in the films The Big Heat, Crossfire, and her Supporting Oscar-winning turn in The Bad and the Beautiful. I knew a little about her troubled background - her controversial marriages, her worries about her looks that had her drastically attempting to alter her appearance, and her eventual succumbing to cancer at ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 out of 5 stars

I won this book from GoodReads and then quite by coincidence, I watched The Bad and the Beautiful last weekend. That movie is the movie that Gloria Grahame won her Oscar for. She was quite the actress and a name that probably a lot of people don’t know about. I think you might remember her from Oklahoma! as Ado Annie. (a role that she wasn’t thrilled with because she really couldn’t sing) This book tells the story of her very last days. S
Dec 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story of the death of troubled actress Gloria Grahame written by an ex-lover Peter Turner. As he and his family care for her in her final week, he reflects on their relationship.

This could have been an engaging story, however it is badly written, uneven, and at times dull. Turner seems to give a lot of weight to irrelevant and boring details, and only briefly mentions things that could have made the book more interesting such as holidays with Gloria, the two of them spending time with her fa
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much enjoyed this memoir by Peter Turner about his relationship with the actress Gloria Grahame. At first the book felt a bit disjointed, as he goes back and forth in time, but it gradually comes together into a compelling and touching story.

I've read some critical reviews in which people have said that Turner comes across as very self-centered and selfish and that there should have been more of a focus on Grahame's personal life and her career. I think Turner's depiction of himself at a v
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
A sad story, sadly told. The book is purportedly about Peter, who is taking care of a former lover through her decline with cancer. You would think you would feel sorry for Peter, or sad, but he doesn’t come across as very aware of what is going on, or very capable of handling the situation. Peter comes across as young and self-centered, but basically a good bloke. If anyone, you feel for Peter’s mom, who seems to handle the stress and do most of the work involved here. Interesting to read for t ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Budding actor Peter Turner met Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame in 1978. Having moved to England to star in a play, she was 55 and two decades beyond her Hollywood heyday (starring in The Big Heat, Oklahoma! and The Bad and the Beautiful). Grahame's friendship with Turner became romantic despite their 30-year age difference, and the two traveled to California and New York.

In 1980, Grahame was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she refused to treat. Instead of telling Turner, she broke up w
Elysia Fionn
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I understand why some previous reviewers were frustrated with the author's apathy and disengagement from the situation playing out in his family home... but at the same time, I have extreme sympathy for him. Sometimes impending death of someone you love just overwhelms you, and you do stupid things. You go out and party, or you let other people handle the difficulties that you just don't know how to deal with. From this book, I got the impression that Mr. Turner really knew Gloria Grahame... the ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool based on memoir by Peter Turner

There is a lot to like in this different, unusual, provocative, melancholic motion picture about some of the life of Gloria Grahame.

Gloria Grahame is a former star, who has won the Academy Award for her performance in The Bad and the Beautiful, opposite Kirk Douglas and in competition with other formidable actresses, from features like Singin’ in the Rain, Moulin rouge and Come Back, Little Sheba.
In her role, we have another Deity
Read to page 24, then abandoned ship. Boring.

Gloria Grahame was Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!"
Dummies guide on how to cash out your options.; - You happen to have shagged fading Hollywood celebrity MILF on the yellow brick road to tinsel town fame but: you didn't make it. No worries, there is more than one way to skin the cat. Next up: said MILF dies, so write a (terrible) book about it. Wait for a new batch of fading celebrity you-know-whats to fight it out for the leading role in the movie. Bingo.
Ray Downton
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quirky melancholic tale of Gloria Grahame's last days, spent at her ex-lovers parents house in Liverpool. Switches nicely between the UK and USA and shows Grahame in a favourable light,certainly not a diva
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember buying the French translation of this strange, uneven yet affecting memoir, in the late eighties, when I was still living in Paris, but actually never finding the time to read it. Fast forward to 2017: thanks to the movie adaptation, the book is now back in print in the US, with a short but interesting afterword by the writer, and at last I’ve opened it and read it. It is a short book, and it does read very fast, actually. Of course, as an obsessive cinephile, what made me buy the boo ...more
Myrna Gottlieb
This is a short and interesting book written about 5 years after the death of Gloria Grahame and recently reissued in paperback with an afterword by the author 30 years later in connection with the release of a new movie based on his book. The author is a British actor/ writer, Peter Turner, a native of Liverpool, who had a relationship with Ms Grahame for the three years before her death in 1981. When the two connected, first as friends and companions- then as lovers, Mr Turner,who describes hi ...more
Pippa Ainsworth
Having heard glowing reviews about the recent film adaptation of this book I decided to read it before seeing the finished product and, to be honest, I'm not really glad I did!
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool is an autobiographical account of the last days of the actress Gloria Grahame, told by her erstwhile partner, Peter Turner. They had a relationship for around three years which ends prior to a phone call from Lancaster, where she has been acting in a play to say that she is gravely ill. Tu
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat brief, but bittersweet, moving memoir.

In an afterword to the book he wrote 30 years prior in 1986, Peter Turner is able to answer some of the questions that could not be answered in the book itself. In 1986, there were things he didn't know - mainly regarding Gloria Grahame's mysterious way of handling the cancer that had returned to her.

Turner's book has little to say about Grahame's Hollywood career. Her films are mentioned and a bit is said about her roles in them. But, as Turner
Charlene Nelson
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This was a very interesting story and the fact that I saw most of the movies that she was in. It is amazing for me to learn something new, that I didn't know about Gloria Grahame and I enjoyed knowing about the end of her life. She had a interesting life and the idea that she was in Liverpool so close to the end of her life with one of the men she love but maintained a close relationship with is just wonderful. This story is very well written and as I read the words from Peter Turner, one gets t ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’m just a girl who CAN say no!

I’m afraid I found the author to be a self-centred sap to his friend and former lover, the actress, Gloria Grahame (It’s a Wonderful Life, The Greatest Show on Earth, Oklahoma). Some years after Grahame had the sense to ditch him in America, she came to England to act in a play, and Turner took her under his wing and to his parents’ home in Liverpool when she became seriously ill. Basically, he left his family to take care of Gloria whilst he whined, wallowed in se
Michael Stewart
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A film based on this memoir, starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell, was released in late 2017. I've not seen it but plan to soon. This book has been in my personal library since our Vancouver days, so that goes back to pre-2007. It was published in 1986, covering barely a week in 1981, with a few flashbacks to late 1970s.

A late 20ish actor gets involved with a famous, Oscar-winning actress, Gloria Grahame. Turner's memoir concerns her stay at his family's house in Liverpool during her dying day
Lisa Bentley
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is the absolutely lovely account of Peter Turner, a Liverpool born actor who had a chance encounter with an Oscar winning film star that changed his life. The fact that all this really happened makes it all the more Hollywood-esque and utterly heartbreaking.

Turner’s autobiographical account of his tryst with Gloria Grahame is the ultimately sad story of Hollywood’s devaluation of age and how, for female actors in particular, physical demise can be career destroy
I love Gloria Grahame's work. She was such a unique actress, but I know very little about her other than that her personal life was a bit of a hot mess. I didn't learn much more by reading this book. The book is about her final days. Apparently she ignored the fact that she had cancer, decided to heal herself with grape juice and healthy eating, accepted a booking in England and collapsed during rehearsals. She phoned a former boyfriend, who took her to his family home in Liverpool until her chi ...more
Ruth G.
3.5 out of 5 stars

I was drawn to reading this book for two reasons, one as a classic movie fan and secondly, the front cover notation, "Soon being made into a motion picture". In truth, I had never heard of Gloria Grahame. However, after discovering she won an Academy Award in the book blurb, the book became all the more appealing to me.

This is a short book, 170 pages, that takes place during the film star's final days having reached out to her former lover (the author), a London actor living i
Dec 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Well, Peter Turner seems like a real piece of shit. I don’t know what he was trying to accomplish with this “memoir” but the main point he put across is that he’s a selfish, self-involved asshole. The second point he put across is that he should stick to his day job (acting, I guess?) because he is a terrible writer. This book is slim, shallow, with boring, unnecessary and awkward dialogue and descriptions of things the reader doesn’t even care about. Anyone who is reading this book only cares a ...more
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PETER TURNER was born in Liverpool in 1952 the youngest of nine children. He was educated at a local comprehensive school and started acting at the age of sixteen with The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He worked extensively in British theatre both in London and the regions. He played Terry Adams in three seasons of the hit television drama series Spearhead and his film parts included pl ...more