A meditation on death presented through the author’s playful but often sardonic reminiscences of personalities from Busby Berkeley to Agatha Christie to Howard Hughes listed in the necrology section of Variety’s 1976 year in review issue. [NY Times book review]
The second volume of the influential director, producer, and actor’s memoirs, Front and Center focuses on Houseman’s Hollywood years in the forties and fifties as a producer of films such as The Bad and the Beautiful, The Blue Dahlia, and Lust for Life. Houseman, who was married to the actress Joan Fontaine, also provides literary portraits of famous Hollywood figures he knew and worked with, including Orson Welles, Raymond Chandler, and Herman Manciewitz. [NY Times book review]
Barbara Gordon’s groundbreaking memoir tells the extraordinary story of a woman who has it all, or thinks she does: a career as an Emmy-award-winning documentary producer, a man she loves, a world of friends, and a beautiful apartment in Manhattan. But beneath the façade, Barbara’s life is spinning out of control. In spite of the pills prescribed by her doctor, a nameless terror disrupting her daily life intensifies until she is besieged by crippling anxiety attacks. A formerly strong, independent, successful woman, Barbara’s life becomes a nightmare of paralysis and fear. When Barbara finds herself unable to leave her apartment or walk the streets of New York alone, she decides to take charge of her life. She doesn’t want pills, she wants answers. Instead of ending her fears, quitting the medicine leads to the unraveling of what she thought was her perfect life, and Barbara becomes a casualty of a flawed and inept mental health system. Barbara had often spoken for the voiceless in her films, but she suddenly finds herself powerless, without a voice of her own. Though she feels frightened and misunderstood, the tenderness and love of another young patient, Jim, helps Barbara rediscover her voice and her identity. I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can is a strikingly honest look at a life gone off the rails. Throughout her journey, Gordon’s hope and strength make her an incredible heroine worth rooting for. [Moyer Bell]
Bogart’s “Baby”–Lauren Bacall–describes her career in Hollywood and on Broadway, her marriages to Bogart and Jason Robards, her disastrous affair with Sinatra, and her fierce determination to be her own woman.