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View Full Version : Brilliantly Scribed Entertainment Bios or Autobios



Alfred Chamberlain
07-27-2010, 11:26 PM
Looking for masterful bios/autobios from the film and music worlds. Must be highly literate and follow a life that is either artistic/moving and/or filled with debauchery.

For example:

Charles Chaplin - My Autobiography
John Phillips - Papa John
Nick Tosches - Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams
Ray Carney - Cassavetes on Cassavetes

High level hipster shit. Books, people! Watcha got?

Randy Thomas G
07-28-2010, 02:07 AM
Bunuel - The Last Sigh
Nick Tosches - Hellfire
Stanley Booth - True Adventures of the Rolling Stones
Jimmy McDonough - The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Andy Milligan & Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: Bio of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film

Just picked up McDonough's bio on Tammy Wynnette as well, I'm expecting big things.

Mark C.
07-28-2010, 03:31 AM
filled with debauchery.
Kinski's Autobiograpy fits that bill.
Another good one is Holly Woodlawn's Called A LOW LIFE IN HIGH HEELS.

PaulC
07-28-2010, 09:33 AM
Don Siegel's A SIEGEL FILM is great, especially if you like drunken Lee Marvin anecdotes.

John W..
07-28-2010, 09:34 AM
Check out Hellraisers by Robert Sellers - not really very well written but brimming with debauchery. It charts the drinking careers of Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed.

Steve R
07-28-2010, 12:20 PM
If They Move... Kill ' Em! by David Weddle - Sam Peckinpah bio
Stevie Ray Vaughan : Caught in the Crossfire

Mark C.
07-28-2010, 01:53 PM
Check out Hellraisers by Robert Sellers - not really very well written but brimming with debauchery. It charts the drinking careers of Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed.

Ive seen this on the shelf it looked intriguing.

Paul Francis
07-29-2010, 10:46 AM
'Bird Lives!' The High Life and Hard times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker

by Ross Russell , first printing 1973

Probably the best musician bio I've read and have read this at least ten times over the years, and periodically revisit certain chapters. It is extremely well written and is a fascinating account of one the most influential figures in jazz history. It is scholarly and heartfelt, practically a must-read for any musician. It also contains enough lurid and shocking details of Parker's debauched life to satisfy those mainly interested in that aspect of his career in jazz.

Todd J
07-29-2010, 11:01 AM
not sure what qualifies, but Frank Zappa's autobio was a fun little read.

Blake L.
07-29-2010, 11:41 AM
Crazy From the Heat by David Lee Roth. The guy's a nut, and it's a fun read.

Jon Houghton
07-29-2010, 12:45 PM
A Youth In Babylon--David F. Friedman's autobiography. absolutely one, if not THE best, I have ever read. it and Jimmy McDonough's Russ Meyer bio are both amazing. really looking forward to his Andy Milligan bio

Randy Thomas G
07-29-2010, 11:31 PM
Forgot Straight Life by Art Pepper, crazy shit.

Alfred Chamberlain
09-11-2010, 07:38 PM
"Jerry Lee did as he was bid that night; he went on before Chuck Berry. He had the crowd screaming and rushing the stage, and when it seemed that the screams had grown loudest and the rushing most chaotic, he stood, kicked the piano stool away with violence, and broke into 'Great Balls of Fire.' As the screaming chaos grew suddenly and sublimely greater, he drew from his jacket a Coke bottle full of gasoline, and he doused the piano with one hand as the other hand banged out the song; and he struck a wooden match and he set the piano aflame, and his hands, like the hands of a madman, did not quit the blazing keys, but kept pounding, until all became unknown tongues and holiness and fire, and the kids went utterly, magically berserk with the frenzy of it all; and Jerry Lee stalked backstage, stinking of gasoline and wrath, and he said to Chuck Berry, real calm, as the sound of kids going crazy and stamping and yelling shook the walls; he said, 'Follow that, nigger.' "

R.T., thanks for reminding me this existed. Currently blowing my mind on it.

Andrew Ellis
09-12-2010, 12:13 AM
This is a typically obscure choice, but "I Used to Be an Animal, but I'm Alright Now" by Eric Burdon. I actually met the guy once when I was young and had no idea who he even was, and he told me he knew Jimi Hendrix, and I was like yeah, right. Then later I got into The Animals music and I read his book and now I still kick myself for not talking to him more. Anyway, his autobiography is very good and very well-written. I still remember the line: "I'm not bitter, really more bittersweet". (Something like that--I'm sure I'mnot doing it justice).

I also liked "Please Kill Me", the oral history of NYC pre-punk, but I'm sure I'm not alone there.

As far as movies, I'll second "Youth in Babylon" (although it's a bit verbose), John Water's "Shock Value" (which literally inspired me to take up DYI filmmaking for awhile), and I recently read a good bio/auto-bio of British sexploitatiion filmmaker Stanley Long, which is quite interesting even if you don't know who the hell HE is.

Randy Thomas G
09-12-2010, 03:35 AM
R.T., thanks for reminding me this existed. Currently blowing my mind on it.

It is indeed great, I'm not usually a fan of most biographies, too rambling and OCD attention to pointless detail by many biographers, but HELLFIRE is something else. I really hope that Scorsese gets around to making DINO, as he's been talking about for years.

Alfred Chamberlain
09-12-2010, 09:54 AM
I really hope that Scorsese gets around to making DINO, as he's been talking about for years.

That would be incredible -- hand in glove. Perfect kind of Italian epic that's right up his alley. I've always wanted to hear the line, "You're nothing but a fucking dollar sign" spoken by someone other than me & my friends...

Alfred Chamberlain
09-12-2010, 09:57 AM
I also liked "Please Kill Me", the oral history of NYC pre-punk, but I'm sure I'm not alone there.

A stone classic, yes.

RichardDoyle
09-13-2010, 05:05 PM
I also liked "Please Kill Me", the oral history of NYC pre-punk, but I'm sure I'm not alone there.

McNeil's follow-up of sorts "The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry" is also very good.