ICONS by Denise Worrell


Intimate Portraits
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Originally written as resource pieces for Time magazine reporters, each of these 11 essays by Time contributor Worrell offers an incisive take on a megacelebrity; the stars profiled include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Paul Newman, David Lean, Bob Dylan, Nastassia Kinski, Bette Midler, George Lucas, and Oliver Stone. Like Barbara Walters, Worrell has a knack for getting her subjects to air the pains, joys, and shames usually locked away from public eyes. "When I was a kid, I had a nervous stomach and I threw up every time I was frightened," admits Madonna, while Bob Dylan confesses that "in life. . .I feel like I fall short in just about everything." Much of the book consists of such verbatim material, and much of it's of interest; but Worrell's real strength lies in her backgrounds to the quote extracts--in her snappy descriptions of the stars' homes, manners, ways of dress and speech. What pins Steve Martin down, for example, is not so much what he says as where and how he says it: in his gray house with no front windows, with talk that is "dry, thoughtful, methodical, with no flow, no drama, no comedy. . .he seems tired out, bleached out, desiccated to the roots of his hair." Thus, we meet Spielberg in the Amblin Entertainment offices--a kids' paradise with a fish-filled pond, basketball hoop, and screening room with a steady supply of popcorn, M&Ms, and Goobers--an Michael Jackson in his mansion, in a dark room lit only by a TV: "Michael and I shake hands. His hand feels like a cloud. He barely says 'Hi.'" Most of these pieces date from the early 80's, but Worrell appends each with a brief update; and, in any case, the images she offers are fade-resistant, still telephoto-sharp and revealing.

ISBN: 87113-306-7
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
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