Great Tragic Idols of the Twentieth Century, Volume II

Summer is almost here: what better time to read even more biographies of beloved dead stars.

This Marilyn Monroe bio is compelling, well-researched and admirably restrained, neither sentimentalizing Marilyn nor damning her. But it feels a little cold somehow.

I think that, for all of the bio's virtues, it suffers because the author does not love her subject enough. Barbara Leaming has written so many bios it's not hard to see why she would come across as more workmanlike than passionate.

I love working writers. They write better than those of us who rely on the fickle muse Inspirato. In my former place of employment, we would hire good writers to do books on any number of topics. If we did a series on illness, for example, we would have someone write tomes on diabetes, lupus, ezcema, hyperthyroidism, and foot fungus; and the writer invariably would come back with thoroughly-researched manuscripts, delivered on time, written very very well, poetically in spots. (Poetically *on* spots would the m.o. of the Measles volume.)

I just wish the Monroe biographer had pushed through the fourth wall a bit more. Like this guy. Less like measles = more like magic.

I have been movie-stalking and You Tube-stalking Marilyn to try to fill in the gaps and illuminate some of her power. This number is interesting to me. I love the art direction. Dig the fact that she picks up giant knitting needles and knits!!!


The Continuing Adventures

I spent all weekend working on a manuscript. Done. Whew!

I just finished a huge biography of Judy Garland. I got started on it after catching her "American Masters" bio -- the episode is just searing, with more killer moments than I can possibly mention:

I got the bio from the liberry and they only had the original 1975 hardcover. The thing was 650 pages. I carried it to and from work in its own special bag. I renewed it four times. It took a month of near-daily reading to finish it.

What can I tell you.

I love you, Judy!