Miriam Hopkins: Life and Films of a Hollywood Rebel

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University Press of Kentucky, Nov 9, 2017 - Performing Arts - 424 pages
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Miriam Hopkins (1902--1972) first captured moviegoers' attention in daring precode films such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), The Story of Temple Drake (1933), and Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise (1932). Though she enjoyed popular and critical acclaim in her long career -- receiving an Academy Award nomination for Becky Sharp (1935) and a Golden Globe nomination for The Heiress (1949) -- she is most often remembered for being one of the most difficult actresses of Hollywood's golden age. Whether she was fighting with studio moguls over her roles or feuding with her avowed archrival, Bette Davis, her reputation for temperamental behavior is legendary.

In the first comprehensive biography of this colorful performer, Allan R. Ellenberger illuminates Hopkins's fascinating life and legacy. Her freewheeling film career was exceptional in studio-era Hollywood, and she managed to establish herself as a top star at Paramount, RKO, Goldwyn, and Warner Bros. Over the course of five decades, Hopkins appeared in thirty-six films, forty stage plays, and countless radio programs. Later, she emerged as a pioneer of TV drama. Ellenberger also explores Hopkins's private life, including her relationships with such intellectuals as Theodore Dreiser, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and Tennessee Williams. Although she was never blacklisted for her suspected Communist leanings, her association with these freethinkers and her involvement with certain political organizations led the FBI to keep a file on her for nearly forty years. This skillful biography treats readers to the intriguing stories and controversies surrounding Hopkins and her career, but also looks beyond her Hollywood persona to explore the star as an uncompromising artist. The result is an entertaining portrait of a brilliant yet underappreciated performer.

 

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Contents

Prologue
1773
From a Fine Old Family
1776
Broadway Bound
1785
Billy
1799
Of Paramount Importance
1809
Hollywood
1818
An Expensive Leading Woman
1826
The Lubitsch Touch
1843
This Is Pure Hopkins
1964
To New York and Back
1964
A Little OffCenter
1964
They Are Sure Reds
1964
How Many Times Can You Come Back?
1964
The Final Years
1964
If I Had to Do It Over Again
1964
Epilogue
1964

Sutton Place
1851
Goldwyn
1864
Tola
1877
West Hollywood to Burbank
1890
Perfect Little Bitches
1898
All This Jack Warner and Bette Davis
1909
Angels Battle in Boston
1964
Acknowledgments
1964
Appendix
1964
Notes
1968
Bibliography
1998
Index
1997
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Allan R. Ellenberger is the author of numerous books about the cinema, including Margaret O'Brien: A Career Chronicle and Biography. His articles have appeared in Classic Images, Films of the Golden Age, and the Hollywood Heritage Newsletter.

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