Swanson on Swanson
"Gloria Swanson, at eighty-one, in full possession of all of her many strengths, and now the sole survivor of a lifetime filled with such adventures that no novelist could begin to imagine it, tells her own story in her own words, and leaves nothing out. An army brat on posts in Key West and Puerto Rico, she was on the road to stardom from the moment when, at the age of fifteen, she paid a casual visit to a film studio on Chicago's North Side. Then, in Los Angeles the next year , she found herself a second time, again almost by accident, before the cameras, this time with the slapstick genius Mack Sennett as her director. Soon she came under the tutelage of Cecil B. De Mille, and by her early twenties had become, along with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, one of the world's greatest stars, the idol of millions of fans everywhere and a symbol of the Babylonian splendors of a now vanished Hollywood. Her teenage marriage to the actor Wallace Beery was a disaster; her second marriage was hardly better. But the tremendous strength of character that brought her to stardom also kept her there, and while her contemporaries fell victim to scandal and all the extravagant corruptions that the young Hollywood offered, she kept her head, despite the hysterical adulation that accompanied her everywhere. By the time she was twenty-seven she had made dozens of world-famous films and turned down a Paramount contract for more than a million dollars a year. Instead she became her own producer at United Artists, and there she violated one of Hollywood's strictest taboos by filming Somerset Maugham's Rain, the outspoken story of a prostitute and the hypocritical minister who falls in love with her. Though the film became a gigantic success, it also ran well over budget. It was Joseph P. Kennedy, then a forty-year-old Boston financier, who came to her rescue, and with whom she commenced a love affair that was to be passionate, destructive, and memorable. She tells the story of this long-secret three-year romance for the first time. Surrounded in these early Hollywood years by Chaplin, Fairbanks, Pickford, Valentino, and countless other stars, Swanson was also involved with the great producers of her day: Goldwyn, Lasky, Schenck, and the other Hollywood moguls, and proved to be as tenacious as the best of them. Glamour was everywhere: New York, Paris, Havana, London; there were Rolls-Royces by the dozen. She lived in a sea of champagne, as a reigning empress of the screen, but never forgetting for a moment that there were sharks among the bubbles. Above all, she was and is every inch a woman; a feminist long before her time, she fought to win in one of the toughest worlds men ever made, and remained throughout a devoted mother to her three children. These are the memoirs of a great survivor, a great actress, and a beautiful woman: the Hollywood story for all time."--Dust jacket.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - house.rx - LibraryThing
Large book full of details that the author wrote late in life. Gloria Swanson had more than one career beside silver screen star and author---she often designed her own clothing; some was reproduced ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - mrsfiskeandco - LibraryThing
Probably the best movie star autobio ever, reads like an epic. Read full review