Wizard's First Rule Audio Cassette – Abridged, Jul 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Hollywood biographer Leaming presents a detailed account of the professional and personal life of Hepburn, the only star to ever win four Oscars for best actress.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
One might rightly wonder what there is left to say about actress Hepburn, since she has already been extensively written about and interviewed and has written her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life (Knopf, 1991). But biographer Leaming (If This Is Happiness, LJ 9/1/89) has managed to add a whole new perspective to what is already known. Leaming starts this biography not with Hepburn's birth and early life but with her mother Kathy (known later as Kate). Kathy's mother, Carrie, was forced to take charge of her three girls after the suicide of her husband, Fred. Carrie's courage, strength, and fervid desire for her daughters to be educated led Kathy to become a leader in the early women's movement. These role models together helped shape the woman we know as Katharine Hepburn. Leaming hypothesizes, however, that Hepburn was also driven by the shadow of suicide, which took her brother Tom as well. This is less a gossipy, glitzy celebrity bio and more an exploration of the New England social mores that shaped this living legend. Highly recommended.?Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Cooperative Lib. Sys., Cal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Having fabricated the fictional relationship between Katharine Hepburn and John Ford, the author then uses it to denigrate Hepburn's real long time love, Spencer Tracy. Leaming makes incredibly scurrilous and completely undocumented statements about Tracy such as that his supposed veneral disease caused his son's deafness. Ms. Leaming fails to offer even one iota of evidence for this outrageous statement.
Page after page of this book is full of wildly fanceful speculations passed off as fact. What are we to make of the following passage at page 393:
"If Tracy wondered whether, or how Ford would react to news of the affair with Kate, he did not have to wait long to find out. On September 3, five days after shooting on Woman of the Year began, Ford suddenly left town under mysterious circumstances. . . .Ostensibly, Ford's sudden, rather theatrical departure had nothing to do with Kate. Still, there can be no question that it shadowed her relationship with Tracy from the start. A man of Tracy's tormented and deeply suspicious nature could never accept that Ford's timing had been purely coincidental. . . . "
So, according to Ms. Leaming, John Ford left Los Angeles and joined the military because he was upset that Katharine Hepburn had become involved with Spencer Tracy and further she asserts that Spencer Tracy knew this and was 'tormented' by it. How silly can one author get?Read more ›
The author is delusional and puts forth her own agenda totally ignoring facts. She has this unrequited love between John Ford and Katharine which only she has ever wrote about. Unfortunately since them other writers take it as truth.
Kate herself said in her "All About Me" documentary that despite what many thought she was never romantically involved with him. Yet according to this author this was the love of Kate's life when everyone knows it was without a doubt Spencer Tracy who this author totally deems a horrible human being.
A total BS book lets hope someone out there can write as close to the truth book on this great lady not this trashy drivel????
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Barbara Leaming is a brilliant biographer. She somehow missed what William Mann et al. picked up on once Ms. Hepburn died - that is, that she, like everyone else in Hollywood's golden age was gay. If Hepburn was a lesbian, then Tracy was definitely gay. Gee, I wonder how Barbara missed that. Tsk tsk all that research, all that work and somehow that just never came up. She must not have talked to the right anonymous and inside sources. She probably depended on things like interviews with people who knew Hepburn, her private papers, studio documents, etc. She didn't know that in order to get info on Spencer Tracy, for instance, you have to go to secret gay flop houses.
As for John Ford - in a recent documentary about John Ford, we hear a tape recording between Ford and Katharine Hepburn made while he was very ill in which he tells her he loves her. Dan Ford was taping an encounter with them, went to get something in his car, and left the recorder running. The documentary states that Ford worshipped her (of course, you have to realize that Ford has now been outed as well). Since I head the tape recording, why should I believe any of you that there was no relationship? Was it love on Hepburn's part? I don't know. There was something, though.
Why people find all this endlessly fascinating, I have no idea, especially when one book contradicts the other. I'm supposed to believe that she and Spencer were gay, that Spencer was the only love of her life, that she was a big fat phony. Frankly, it's hard to believe anything.
I do, however, believe that Barbara Leaming is a wonderful writer and biographer. Her bios of Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles were excellent. I have no respect for James Robert Parrish, who is third rate, or people like William Mann who push forward their own agenda - as long, of course, that the person is dead. Wouldn't want a lawsuit now, would we.
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