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EQUAL TO PRINCES by Mary Lawrence Gregory



Pub Date: March 21st, 1986
Publisher: Doubleday

A familiar and overlong Hollywood novel--it's brother against brother when the House Un-American Activities Committee comes to Tinseltown in the late 40's--from screenwriter/novelist Gregory. The Diamond brothers are well known around Hollywood--there's Sheldon, the up-and-coming producer, David, the quiet, classy screenwriter, and Mel, the tacky, fellatio-obsessed lawyer. When HUAC arrives in Lotusland during the Red scare, they're looking for Writer's Guild members to nail, and to everyone's astonishment someone fingers David as a commie--it tums out he was a very young and innocent member of a Marxist study group years earlier. Refusing to give in to the Committee, he just barely escapes a contempt citation, and decides to head with his family (wife Laura, twin sons Mark and Michael) to Australia, where he ekes out a living making ""sun-and-sandal"" epics and distributing them in America through Sheldon's sharp wife, Carla, who also ""fronts"" for David's screenplays. After Laura dies, David and Carla have a long-running affair; Sheldon, now the powerful head of Fulcrum Entertainment, a television and motion-picture studio, catches them in bed together and vows to ruin David, but he gets only more successful as the years pass, and the McCarthy era fades into memory. Then in 1971, Eye Magazine, a supermarket scandal sheet, runs a story accusing Sheldon of making illegal campaign contributions to Ty Borden, a Reagan-like ex-actor who is now Governor of California. Sheldon foolishly (because the story is true) sues for libel and during the course of a messy and far-reaching court battle, a former Hollywood screenwriter named Renata Joline confesses that she had given David's name to HUAC--at the behest of Sheldon, who had cut a deal with the Committee to save his own job and future. After a brief confrontation with David (""I forgive you, Sheldon, but I won't love you anymore""), Sheldon does the honorable thing and blows his head off, and Carla and David head for Down-Under, quits with Hollywood forever. A fairly intelligent but rather tame and slow-moving fiction that falls somewhere in the never-never land between the classy trash of Hollywood Wives and the serious romance of The Way We Were.