Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship by Charles Casillo – #BookReview – #Biographies of the Rich & Famous

“Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you.”
—Richard Burton
 

Book Blurb:

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles CosilloWhen Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, “That’s when I began to act.”

To Monty, she was “Bessie Mae,” a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamored for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men—a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home, when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty’s accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons—and the loyalty that united them to the end.

My Review:

Classic Hollywood—the era of the huge stars—beautiful and tragic. Guess that would describe both of these Hollywood legends.

Holy smokes! I certainly remember Liz Taylor and all her men but only a scant recollection of Montgomery Clift; saw few of his movies. (We never had money for movies back then.) Still, I might have lived the rest of my life not knowing the madness of Clift. Taylor was pretty much a headline ALL the time.

“Sexually, she was every man’s dream. She had the face of an angel and the morals of a truck driver.” – Eddie Fisher

I have to give it to author Casillo for all the research that went into this biography. Monty Clift was a successful Broadway actor when sixteen year old Elizabeth met him. Two polar opposites drawn to each other initially by their common experience of having been thrust into the spotlights by stage mothers.

“Before forty you have the face you were born with; after forty you get the face you deserve.” – Elizabeth Taylor

“If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles  CasilloThe chapters trade off alternately Taylor’s experiences and then Clift’s experiences. There was a LOT of name dropping, most names easily recognizable, as well as some fascinating behind the scenes tidbits about films, particularly those in which both starred.

There is a great deal of description which is then repeated, portions spun, rinsed and repeated. With so many names involved in the narrative perhaps dropping a name more than once was appropriate. However, I got the point the first time.

We knew about Elizabeth’s penchant for men, for excitement, the thrill of the conquests and affairs (eight marriages), her tragedies, the drinking, the pills. We knew that Monty Clift was gay when it was dangerous to be so. We didn’t know of his destructive nature, the booze, the drugs, the pills and his propensity to go off the deep end into unnaturally offensive behavior, swiping dishes off the table in well-known expensive restaurants and then eating off the floor. Spinning into alcoholic, drug induced days, it became impossible to insure him for films, but he was already exhibiting self-destructive behavior before that horrific accident that changed forever that beautiful face. Currently on pre-order.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary uncorrected review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: LGBTQ, Biographies of the Rich & Famous
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B08GYBH611

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Charles Casillo - authorThe Author: Charles Casillo is the author of the novels “The Fame Game,” and “The Marilyn Diaries,” the biography, “Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy” (the authorized life history of the legendary writer and hustler), and a collection of stories “Boys, Lost & Found.” His latest book is a serious and comprehensive biography of Monroe: “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon.” The author says, “It will introduce you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know.”

Casillo’s profiles, short stories, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Vice, Interview, and many others. He has appeared in Monroe documentaries “Behind the Headlines: Marilyn and Her Men,” on Lifetime, and “Whatever Happened to Norma Jeane,”

His movies include “Let Me Die Quietly,” a neo-noir thriller and the dark comedy “Fetish”(with Joan Collins.)

Casillo was born in New York City. He has spent many years exploring and documenting his interests and obsessions, such as exceptionally talented people, strange encounters in various bars, Marilyn Monroe, eccentrics, sex, tragic figures, and antidotes to insomnia, insecurity, and loneliness. He has written about these and other subjects in his works. He divides his time between New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and other places where he hangs his hat.

©2021 V Williams

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – An #Audiobook Review

GRAMMY NOMINEEAudie Award, Humor, 2015

Book Blurb:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you’re invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents – Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. 

Also included? A one-night-only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. 

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz”, the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs” – Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by. 

 My Review:

 I guess I can’t think about Amy Poehler without also including Tina Fey, and of course, Tina also wrote a memoir that I am currently listening to and will review next week. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I downloaded this audiobook from my local library. Amy’s book is biting, full of essays, name-dropping, and repeated comments regarding how difficult it is to write a book. That becomes imminently obvious, as she struggled mightily with it.

Yes Please by Amy PoehlerAnd I’m sorry (or maybe not), but I didn’t find it particularly funny. Okay, a comedienne, but this is not a book about comedy. I’m not wholly sure it can be called a memoir either as it skips over parts many people would be interested in, saying, “I also don’t like people knowing my s**t.” Then yah got me stumped. So, then, what is it? Perhaps more of an appreciation card–a thank you to all who helped get her there?

Of course, I’m most interested in her years on SNL–thinking back to some of the hey-dey years of SNL–when they were a little more topical and a little less fart jokes. I never really got into Parks and Recreation, and her description of it sounds like it didn’t garner a lot of awards.

She does mention realizing at an early age that this was what she wanted to do and focused on moving toward that goal, getting into the improv groups, dodging rats in New York and drugs and booze in Chicago, though she expands in further detail drug usage in a later chapter.

Motherhood, definitely waxes poetic, having started her family in her thirties after having enormous amounts of fun playing the single scene and the improv scene through her twenties. In fact, she was pregnant in segments on SNL. I did enjoy some of the anecdotes from her time there, particularly with Tina Fey, but also as she goes into depth about her friendship with Seth Meyers.

In fact, she spends quite a bit of time expounding on various of the characters with whom she played for years. The problem I had was in the lack of cohesiveness. (It was all over the place.) The book doesn’t appear to have been laid out in any one direction. She’ll bounce from kindergarten to SNL and back again to kindergarten and her parents. In fact, they have a segment.

Alternately profane and compassionate, she climbs more than one soapbox to express her concerns for people, how to attain satisfaction in your own life. She teaches kindness. Reads letters that she felt were pivotal points in her treatment of people. Still, she remains closed off, impenetrable. All I really know at this point is that she worked hard at her craft and paid her dues and I think that’s the story of any who finally made it to the top.

I received this audiobook from my local well-stocked library audiobook section and appreciated the opportunity to give a listen. Next week–Tina Fey’s memoir, biography, Bossy Pants. Stay tuned.

 Book Details:

Genre: Biographies of Women, Humor Essays, Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Publisher: Harper Audio
ASIN: B00MP22QRQ
Print Length:
Listening Length: 7 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Local (Audiobook Selections) Library
Title Link: Amazon Audible   |   Amazon Paperback   |   Amazon Kindle
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Amy Poehler - author, actress, comedienneThe Author: [from Goodreads]] Amy Meredith Poehler is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, producer and writer. Raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improv at The Second City and ImprovOlympic. In 1996, she moved to New York City after becoming part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, which later developed into an eponymous television show that aired on Comedy Central for three seasons. Poehler was also one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 1999.

Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Update sketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler’s work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is known for voicing Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–2011 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Eleanor Miller in the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI films. Since 2009, she has starred as Leslie Knope in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, and received the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series. She is also an eight-time Emmy Award nominee.

Poehler is currently starring in the new Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden along with her brother Greg Poehler.