William Haines was one of MGM's biggest stars in the late 1920s, playing cocky but sympathetic wise guys in movies such as Brown of Harvard. He was as self-assured in real life: dropped by the studio in 1933 because he refused to hide his homosexuality, Haines became a successful interior decorator. Journalist William J. Mann perceptively links Haines's story to shifting attitudes in the movie industry, the gay community, and America as a whole. He also paints a tender portrait of the actor's love for Jimmie Shields, his companion from 1926 until Haines's death in 1973.
The now-forgotten Haines made the leap from contract player to featured actor in 1926 and was Hollywood's top male moneymaker in 1930. But a combination of changing times and battles with Louis B. Mayer over his love life ended his career by 1936. Thereafter, Haines made a fortune as one of America's top interior designers without giving up his principles. Journalist Mann's detailed biography, based partly on interviews with gay Hollywood figures who knew Haines well, reveals a film community whose public and private faces rarely coincided. Haines and his partner's 50-year life together and that of other long-term gay Hollywood couples demonstrates a commitment rarely seen among any couples. Highly recommended for its vivid portrait of these overlapping communities.?Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Houston
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book is very informative and full of eye-opening photographs. It reflects an issue that needs to be addressed much, much more. Read morePublished on June 1 2003 by J. Rose
Yea, Mr. Mann gets a little gossipy in areas, without stating real facts, and he does tend to lean towards the "gay" angle on everything, but overall this is a pretty good book. Read morePublished on July 30 2002 by AJ
I got much more out of this biography than I expected. I wanted to learn more about Billy Haines, and his struggle to be openly gay in Hollywood, and about his long marriage to... Read morePublished on April 12 2002 by steve
Williams Haines is perfectly suited as a lens through which to examine life, gay life in particular, in old Hollywood when the silents were king and when they first fell. Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2002 by Ricky Hunter
The author of this book has a real feel for the Hollywood of the twenties and thirties. There are alot of anecdotes about various silent and talking film stars. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2001 by Moe811
William Mann gives us quite a gift in his book "Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star". Read morePublished on July 4 2000 by James Hiller
This book is very informing and inspiring. I mean, Hollywood "marriages" hardly last a couple of years, but with two couples in this book staying together for over 40... Read morePublished on April 20 2000 by "macadocb"
...of Gay Hollywood"... I enjoyed reading this book. I knew nothing about William Haines's life... Read morePublished on March 22 2000 by "zara_azari"