Maddy’s Favourite Books About Classic Era Film Stars: Part 1

Not sure if any of you out there have read any of these books or not. If not I highly recommend them.

These are books that I have grown to love a great deal. I love knowing more about classic stars and their lives. These books certainly let you in to these peoples lives and give you a more rounded view of them.


Photo0164 Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing by Lee Server

I love this one because this book lets you see the real woman behind the sex symbol. Ava is an actress who I really like because she didn’t hide herself. Ava was honest, down to earth, fun, passionate and generous; what you saw with Ava was what you got. She was kind to people, and would happily hang out with crew and public; instead of just solely associating with her fellow actors. Ava was a free spirt who would be who she wanted to be, not who others thought she should be. I admire that about her.

This is a fascinating read. Server has clearly done some thorough research to make for a very detailed and interesting read indeed. These pages bring Ava to life. This is one that it is difficult to put down once you start reading. There are some lovely photos of Ava too.


Photo0166Bring On The Empty Horses by David Niven

This one is a sheer delight from start to finish. David Niven (always loveable on and off screen)had a real gift for telling witty stories. In this collection of stories we hear about life in Hollywood during the 30’s and later.

David Niven shares stories of his life with fellow acting friends, and actors who he knew socially. We learn a  great deal about the classic stars, and we certainly have a lot of fun whilst doing so. Reading the pages it’s like David is talking directly to you sharing his memories and opinions of his time in Hollywood. A must read. I never get tired of rereading this one.


Photo0165The Movie Greats by Barry Norman

The late British film critic, Barry Norman, writes passionately here about various classic stars including Marilyn Monroe, Peter Finch and Edward G. Robinson. He gives us an insight into the private lives and issues of these people. After reading this I feel like I know the people he is writing about. Another must read for classic era film fans. Again, this is another book that you can tell was well researched beforehand. A pleasure to read.

I have many more favourites which I’ll share with you soon. Have you read any of these? What do you think of them?







5 thoughts on “Maddy’s Favourite Books About Classic Era Film Stars: Part 1

  1. CanterburyTale

    Hi Maddy.I’ve read both Bring On The Empty Horses, and The Movie Greats, as well as a couple of others in Barry Norman’s ‘Greats’ series.I also used to enjoy the TV programmes. I have The Hollywood Greats about Gable, Tracy, Crawford, Colman, Flynn etc, and another about Crosby, John Wayne, Fonda etc. As you say, they are very enjoyable, well researched books. I find myself trawling the 2nd hand bookshops for out of print gems such as these.David Niven’s anecdotes are a real hoot, as were his TV interviews, and ‘Horses’ is a joy to read. I still haven’t read The Moon’s A Balloon yet, after all these years of wanting to, but hopefully I’ll manage to soon. I recently bought Christopher Lee’s autobiography Lord Of Misrule, and Tom Hutchinson’s Rod Steiger biography, so shall delve into those over the next couple of weeks… or at least as soon as I can get round to reading all the others on my ever-growing pile. Gulp.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thane62

    I agree on the Gardner book: Server also wrote a terrific book about Mitchum. Niven of course is a joy–I remember laughing out loud reading “The Moon’s A Balloon.” “The Hustons”, by Lawrence Grobel is fascinating. Maureen O’Hara’s autobio is a kick. The definitive work on Spencer Tracy is by James Curtis,and the Bogart biography by A.M. Sperber is the best about that rascal. “John Wayne: The Life and Legend” is the one to do justice to the Duke, by Scott Eyman, who also did a great book on John Ford, “Print The Legend”. Errol Flynn’s autobio, “My Wicked, Wicked Ways” is a corker–I read it when I was twelve and I think I’ve paid for the experience. Peter O’Toole, Michael Caine and Richard Burton (his diary basically) write/wrote very entertainingly. Tony Curtis and Robert Wagner’s efforts are amusing, but heavy on the ego. Someone is doing a giant three-volume life of Barbara Stanwyck–the first one is 1056 pages and only goes to 1940! I like Stanwyck, but this must cover every breath she ever took. It’s not like she’s Churchill. That sniff aside, she’s great (love “Titanic”): my brother-in-law did an episode of ‘The Big Valley” and he said she was really charming and down to earth. Thanks for the post. Cheers, Mark


  3. Brian Lageose

    I read “Bring on the Empty Horses” in Junior High when one of my friends plopped the book on my desk, muttered something along the lines of “read this and get back to me”, and then she waltzed off. I greatly enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person


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