Dimensions: 448 pages, 3.74 × 2.6 × 0.55 in
Published: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307377660
ISBN - 13: 9780307377661
About the Book
What does celebrity mean if people can become famous simply for being famous? Burr answers these questions in this lively, wonderfully anecdotal history of stardom--both its blessings and its curses, for the star and the stargazer alike.
Read from the Book
Introduction: The Faces in the Mirror What are the stars really like? That question is not the subject of this book. The subject of this book is why we ask the question in the first place. Still, people want to know. In my day job, I’m a professional film critic for a major metropolitan daily newspaper and throughout the 1990s I wrote reviews and articles for a national weekly entertainment magazine. Over the years, I’ve interviewed a number of actors and directors, ingénues and legends, and often the first question I’m asked by people is just that: What are they really like? The answers always disappoint. Always. They range from “Pretty much what you see on the screen” to “Not all that interesting sometimes” to “Pleasantly professional” to an unspoken “Why do you care?” When pressed (and I’m usually pressed), I’ll allow that Keira Knightley and I had a lovely chat once and Lauren Bacall was nastier than she needed to be to a young reporter just starting out. That Laura Linney seemed graciously guarded, Steve Carell centered and sincere, Kevin Spacey cagey and smart. I once took the young Elijah Wood to a Hollywood burger joint while interviewing him for the magazine. He was a kid who really liked that burger, no more and no less. They are, in short, working actors, life-sized and fallible. There is no mystery here. But this is not what you want to hear, is it? If
From the Publisher
WITH 8 PAGES OF BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS
How—and why—do we obsess over movie stars? How does fame both reflect and mask the person behind it? How have the image of stardom and our stars’ images altered over a century of cultural and technological change? Do we create celebrities, or do they create us?
Ty Burr, film critic for The Boston Globe, answers these questions in this lively and fascinating anecdotal history of stardom, with all its blessings and curses for star and stargazer alike. From Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin to Archie Leach (a.k.a. Cary Grant) and Marion Morrison (a.k.a. John Wayne), Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, and such no-cal stars of today as the Kardashians and the new online celebrity (i.e., you and me), Burr takes us on an insightful and entertaining journey through the modern fame game at its flashiest, most indulgent, occasionally most tragic, and ultimately, its most revealing.
About the Author
Ty Burr has been a film critic at The Boston Globe since 2002. Prior to that he wrote about movies for Entertainment Weekly, and he began his career as an in-house movie analyst for HBO. His previous books include The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together. He lives, writes, and teaches in the greater Boston area.
“A penetrating, lively cultural history of movie stardom. . . . [The author] has a witty, readable style, but don''t let that pop façade fool you. There is substance here, as he dissects how each period in American history finds or create stars to serve its needs.” — The New York Times Book Review “Wide-ranging. . . . Superb. . . . Capacious and thought-provoking. . . . In Gods Like Us , Boston Globe film critic Burr presents a fresh take on the medium’s history, eschewing the standard roll call of moguls and filmmakers, preferring to understand the triumph of Hollywood as a carefully orchestrated harnessing of the ferocious power of celebrity.” — The Boston Globe “David Thomson, watch out! In the pithy new book Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame , Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr delivers thoughtfully epigrammatic descriptions of movie stars, actors, and celebrities. He wittily traces the progression of these characters from the early days of film to their current incarnations on the internet, from the young Frank Sinatra, who ‘looked like a freshly hatched ostrich but his singing voice promised a slowly crested big-band orgasm,’ to Harrison Ford, who is able to ‘make grumpiness seem sexy.’ . . . Gods Like Us soars when it meditates on individual stars and their personae. . . . The whole book is worth guzzling for the golden nuggets on movie stars an