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Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America [Hardcover]

Peter Biskind
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 12 2010
In this compulsively readable and constantly surprising book, Peter Biskind, the author of the film classics Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and Down and Dirty Pictures, writes the most intimate, revealing, and balanced biography ever of Hollywood legend Warren Beatty. Famously a playboy, Beatty has also been one of the most ambitious and successful stars in Hollywood. Several Beatty films have passed the test of time, from Bonnie and Clyde to Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds (for which he won the best director Oscar), Bugsy, and Bulworth. Few filmgoers realize that along with Orson Welles, Beatty is the only person ever nominated for four Academy Awards for a single film -- and unlike Welles, Beatty did it twice. Biskind shows how Beatty used star power, commercial success, savvy, and charm to bend Hollywood moguls to his will. Beatty's private life has been the subject of gossip for decades, and Star confirms his status as Hollywood's leading man in the bedroom, describing his affairs with Joan Collins, Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron and Madonna, among many others. Biskind explains how Beatty exercised unique control, often hiring screenwriters out of his own pocket, producing, directing, and acting in his own films. He was arguably one of the most successful and creative figures in Hollywood during the second half of the twentieth century, and in this fascinating biography, Warren Beatty comes to life -- complete with excesses and achievements -- as never before.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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“This exhaustively researched bio is as undeniably compelling as the man himself.” —Keith Staskiewicz, "Entertainment Weekly" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Peter Biskind is the author of five previous books, including Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. He is a contributor to Vanity Fair and was formerly the executive editor of Premiere magazine. He lives with his family in Columbia County, New York.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Start: How Warren Beatty Seduced America Feb. 17 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful fascinating read! Wow the 70's were the right time for some people to be in the prime of life!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, detailed book! June 16 2011
I was really impressed with this book. It was a great read and very meticulously researched. It gives insight into not only Beatty's personal life but also the movie making process in general.

I didn't know much about Beatty and I haven't seen many of his movies but I needn't have worried with this book. If you're a fan of movies in general, you will find the behind-the-scenes negotations between the studio heads interesting.

The only negative things I would say are:(a) there is a lot of talk about politics (Beatty is a huge fan) and I'm not that interested in the subject matter and (b) the book doesn't touch on much of his childhood or relationship with his sister, Shirley MacLaine, which I would have found interesting.

Besides those two points (which aren't exactly the author's fault given Beatty's interests and reclusive nature), I would recommend this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Commentary on Movie-Making Jan. 21 2010
By Book Lover - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
More interesting that Warren Beatty's conquests, beyond-belief narcissism and generally callous behavior toward his colleagues is what is revealed about the challenges of getting a movie to the screen. If you are interested in the larger overview of movie-making, getting through the more superficial stuff is worth the effort.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much More Than an Entertainment Bio Jan. 26 2010
By IVE - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Peter Biskind is a reknowned film writer who has a special affinity for the 1960s and 70s, a time when the movie industry experienced a tectonic shift and Warren Beatty was at its epicenter. Beatty is perhaps the single greatest example of a living artist who straddled both "old" and "new" Hollywood, so a complete bio of him serves also as a historical document of the evolution of film making. Readers seeking nothing more than sexual gossip will likely be somewhat disappointed, as Beatty's legendary exploits are presented against the much larger canvas of his arduous, sometimes decades-long struggles to bring films such as Reds to fruition. In Biskind's capable hands Beatty transcends easy categorization and is revealed to be fiercely intelligent, visionary, and eccentric -- in other words, very complex and much like the era in which he rose to prominence. I found Star to be a compelling read and, in the end, a most respectful attempt to capture the man in full.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A conundrum wrapped in an enigma Jan. 19 2010
By wogan - Published on
Both the book `Star' and the subject itself, Warren Beatty seem to be filled with contradictions. Peter Biskind gives Beatty credit for what he says are his unmatched successes, but then on the same page will write of the flops and terrible difficulties Warren creates for those who surround him, both professionally and in his love affairs. The contradictions are constant, even those who hate him can't help but liking him. As stories of Beatty's life in Hollywood are explained, they are followed with statements such as: "Beatty now insists that none of this ever happened...and in 1971, when asked if it was true, Beatty said, 'Probably. Possibly'."
Of course the book has details of Beatty's many affairs, but then as Biskind also explains in his introduction, he decided not to include Warren's marriage with Annette Bening, so if you are looking for that part of Beatty's life it is not included, nor is his life before the movie 'Splendor in the Grass'. What is integrated are the details of Beatty's professional career and the difficulties that developed on his movie sets.
This is not really a personal biography since those close to him, his sister, his friends and most of his former lovers will not give interviews. Most of the details are professional and concern his ability to bed almost any woman who crosses his path. Even though Beatty gave permission for this book, he has, like many others before him who authorize biographies then disputed some of what is written.
The cover proclaims "How Warren Beatty seduced America". That question is really never answered; but if you are a fan of Warren Beatty or someone who wishes to read about the moviemaking process and Hollywood community you might enjoy the 600+ pages of information contained in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars down & dirty Jan. 28 2010
By sidonia - Published on
Peter Biskind's STAR is everything I want to find in a Hollywood bio and almost never do. It's smart, informed, researched in depth, and neither hagiography nor a hatchet job. Instead, Biskind has done the work of a top journalist, talked to everyone who would talk, and dug up surprising -- and of course salacious and "socking" connections. The picture revealed through the lens of Beatty's life isn't pretty, but it's as close as an ordinary person is likely to get if you want to know what makes Hollywood tick, and what makes a star. Like his earlier books, this one is a page turner, and hard to put down. There are surprises on every page. I think it's true that the universal is revealed only through the particular. Biskind had the determination to dig up every particular he encountered, and the result is a revelation of the town that's at the center of popular culture.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant biography--entertaining and smart! Jan. 12 2010
By Lucyisme - Published on
Never thought I would read a Beatty bio from cover to cover! I could not put this book down. Biskind is one of few fearless journalists
writing about Hollywood. Is Beatty a Star? Yes and No. Not exactly. Maybe? Definitely! There are no simple answers in this brilliant book.
A must read for anyone who loves movies. Love is a complex thing--especially for Warren Beatty.
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