WARREN BEATTY by John Parker


The Last Great Lover of Hollywood
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 The author of Five for Hollywood (1991) comes up with a galloping, hard-breathing bio of Beatty that recycles the gossip about his love life against the plots of his films. Parker here offers a wavering image that may well resemble Warren Beatty. Unlike close buddy Jack Nicholson (also the subject of a Parker bio), Beatty never sits for Rolling Stone profiles--and it wouldn't matter if he did, since all his interviews are masterpieces of smokespeak in which he absorbs questions like a black hole, taking in matter but giving off no light. His first major Hollywood romance, Joan Collins, however, has much to say, though largely through Parker's rehashes of her autobiography, Past Imperfect. A seeming interview with early Beatty lover Leslie Caron also sounds suspiciously literary: ``[Method acting] happened as with the Impressionists who all have a common denominator in their painting...This school of acting was first created by Stanislavski, director of the Moscow Arts Theatre''--and so on. Parker takes us through all the headline affairs: with Natalie Wood (separated from husband Robert Wagner), Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, Michelle Phillips, Madonna, and Annette Bening, his wife and mother of his only child. Though Beatty's performances were always interesting and based in a discriminating choice of roles, he had to overcome a longstanding pretty-boy image to win critical favor by starring in and directing and/or producing Bonnie and Clyde (which rose above a bad press to become a smash hit), Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds--for which he won a directing Oscar--Dick Tracy, and Bugsy, among others. No sensational revelations here: just the glitz behind the tinsel.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-7867-0072-6
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994


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