Talking Books Talk

Talking Books Talk provides news and updates about the Kansas Talking Books Service (KTBS). Talking Books staff will highlight relevant announcements from KTBS and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

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Jan 27

Women from Hollywood's Golden Era

Posted on January 27, 2023 at 11:49 AM by Maggie Witte

Glamour, poise, elegance. Women from what is dubbed as Hollywood’s Golden Era are often shown as having a glamourous career and life while looking elegant and beautiful. That’s what is often seen when looking at actresses from this time. But not all is what it seems. They worked hard in an industry that during the 20s to early 50s was dominated by men. Learn more about the lives of actresses during that time with our listing of just a small selection of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs about or by the actresses.

A woman in a formal gown leans her head on her arm.

DBC10187 A rose for Mrs. Miniver: the life of Greer Garson by Michael Troyan

In this first-ever biography of Greer Garson, Michael Troyan sweeps away the many myths that even today veil her life. The true origins of her birth, her fairy-tale discovery in Hollywood, and her career struggles at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are revealed for the first time. With the benefit of exclusive access to studio production files, personal letters and diaries, and the cooperation of her family, Troyan explores the triumphs and tragedies of her personal life, a story more colorful than any role she played on the screen.

A blonde woman with slicked back wet hair in water up to her collarbone and water dripping off her.

DB 40238 Grace by Robert Lacey

The author examines the image of a beautiful fairy-tale princess who did not live happily ever after. Lacey chronicles the story of Grace Kelly's abbreviated life through her American phase, depicting the actress with a cool, classy facade and a tawdry private life. When the Hollywood star married her European prince, the location of her fantasy life changed, but reality began to destroy the portrait. Bestseller.

A woman in a fedora peeking around a rock, smiling and holding her hand up with her palm facing up.

DB 49967 Get happy: the life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke

Examines the life of performer Judy Garland, tracing her family roots, marriages, lovers, and children until her death at age forty-seven. Describes various people who influenced the star including her mother, who gave Judy amphetamines at age four, and the unsavory Hollywood characters of her later years. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2000.

A blonde woman with her face turned three quarters facing the camera in black and white.

DB 18508 Betty Grable: the reluctant movie queen by Doug Warren

Affectionate biography of America's favorite pin-up star in the 40s, one of Hollywoods's biggest box-office draws during and after World War II. Known as both the "girl next door" and the leggy sex symbol, Betty is portrayed as having a warm spontaneous charm that endeared her on camera to men and women alike.

An older woman smiling with her chin resting on clasped hands.

DB 33913 Me: stories of my life by Katharine Hepburn

Hepburn, who says she wrote this book to "discover the real reason back of all the fluff," admits it does not follow any path. She does, however, roughly portray her life from her birth in 1907 to her withdrawal into private life. Along the way she offers vignettes of her family; her only husband, Luddy; her career; her affair with Howard Hughes; and finally her special life with Spencer Tracy. Bestseller.

Woman with strawberry blonde hair smiling and wearing a blue blouse.

DB 29097 Debbie: my life by Debbie Reynolds

The actress writes with candor about her rise to fame from a very poor childhood in Texas. A movie star, wife and mother, she led an exciting life, but one that was also filled with bitter tragedies. Some strong language.

A dark-haired woman wearing a formal dress and sandals, curled up and leaning back on a missile.

DB 75958 Hedy’s folly: the life and breakthrough inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the most beautiful woman in the world by Richard Rhodes

Chronicles the 1940s collaboration of Vienna-born movie star Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) and avant-garde composer George Antheil to invent spread-spectrum radio, the technology behind wireless phones, GPS devices, Bluetooth networks, and many other communication systems. Relates Lamarr's early life, marriage to a Nazi-sympathizing Austrian munitions manufacturer, and career in Hollywood. 2011.

A dark-haired woman in a formal gown, looking to one side and smiling.

DB 106227 Olivia de Havilland: lady triumphant by Victoria Amador

Utilizes extensive interviews and forty years of personal correspondence with de Havilland to present an in-depth look at the life and career of celebrated actress who films include Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood. Chronicles her youth, career, love affairs, and long feud with sister Joan Fontaine. Some strong language. 2019.

A woman in a formal gown dancing with one arm raised above her head and the other out to her side.

DB 34128 Ginger: my story by Ginger Rogers

Rogers tells of being raised by her single, Christian Scientist mother, who later testified as a friendly witness for the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Often remembered as Fred Astaire's dance partner, Rogers is quick to point out that their ten films together were only a small portion of her career of seventy-three motion pictures. Rogers also describes her five marriages and her friendships with celebrities.