I'm almost on glamour overload, between Fashion Week in New York last week and the Emmy Awards last night. It's the perfect time to take a look at three entertaining books about Hollywood and the business that is show.
In the '60s, styling hair was a man's job in Hollywood, and it always had been. But then along came Carrie White, who styled her way to the most elite clients in music and film. She clipped hair for Elvis and Jimi Hendrix, coiffed Elizabeth Taylor and Goldie Hawn, and even did Sharon Tate's hair for her wedding to director Roman Polanski.
As she started to hit the pinnacle of her career, though, White also found herself enmeshed in another side of Hollywood, one of pills, alcohol, and late-night parties. She hit rock bottom in the '80s, and then began a long climb back.
Although this book is as much about White's life as it is about her career, it is full of the crazy lifestyles and gossipy tales that still make LaLa Land what it is today. (2011 - Atria Books)
Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.
by Sam Wasson
Breakfast at Tiffany's has rabid fans. I'm not necessarily one of them, but I have always been fascinated by Audrey Hepburn's sophistication and charisma.
Fan or not, this book is an amazing look at the making of a movie, with the author pulling back the curtain on the politics and impact of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
When Truman Capote wrote the book, he already had a specific actress in mind to portray Holly Golightly. He wanted the up-front sexuality of Marilyn Monroe, not the seemingly uptight and prissy Audrey Hepburn. But the woman who made the role her own proved him wrong in every way, shocking her fans by agreeing to portray a prostitute who has no qualms about her life.
Wasson looks at the movie from every angle, from the strange casting of Mickey Rooney, to the birth of the iconic little black dress, to the selection of "Moon River" in this groundbreaking film. (2010 - HarperCollins)
The Big Show
by Steve Pond
I am crazy about the Oscars. I like the glitz, the gaffes, the tears, and every unexpected moment.
The Big Show is frothy fun, giving the reader an insider's look backstage with all the backstabbing, dress malfunctions, and strung-out presenters.
Steve Pond, formerly with Premiere magazine, looks at 15 years of the Academy Awards, starting with the 1989 show that infamously kicked off with Rob Lowe's duet with Snow White, and then went completely downhill from there.
Careers are made and broken at the awards, from the most low-key host who won legions of fans among the show staffers (Steve Martin) to the host that no one ever wants backstage again (David Letterman).
Then there are the nominees, those high-strung and nervous stars who refuse to be seated next to each other, who fight over precedence on the show, and who hide from their many exes in the wings. (2007 - Faber and Faber)