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The cast of characters may be different, but this is essentially a remake of Strait's Star Babies (1980), with one important difference: not all the portraits are saccharine. On Christina Crawford terrain, there's the spectacularly bitter account of Martha Raye and Nick Condos' daughter, who was made to wear her mother's hand-me-downs, witness drugs and groping at her mother's parties, and otherwise suffer; sometimes her Christmas toys were taken away because she fell asleep before midnight on Christmas Eve. Like Crawford, she was packed away to a convent, thrown out of her house by her mother, and eventually blackballed as a Hollywood performer on account (she alleges) of her mother's jealousy. Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell's son became ""jaded"" with the Hollywood glitter after his parents' divorce, and wound up a successful building contractor. But most of the pampered offspring take the tack of songwriter Harry Warren's granddaughter, who enjoyed the glamor while she was growing up and can still say ""It's all bullshit, but such wonderful bullshit,"" (She's married to Marlene Dietrich's grandson, who offers a charming portrait of Dietrich as surrogate mother.) The most famous interviewee in his own right is Jack Haley, Jr., who portrays Hollywood as a kind of neighborhood place where the upbringing was not all that istrange. Otherwise, Hollywood childhood comes across as a combination of awestruck afternoons on the studio sets, crazy showpiece parties, and affinity with the (often more accessible) maids: a light mix of privilege and disillusionment.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's