Children of Hollywood

Accounts of Growing Up as the Sons and Daughters of Stars

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About the Book

Living in the shadow of a famous parent can have powerful effects, from professional opportunities to pressure so great it leads to suicide. Some children of stars are proud of their roots while others live in secrecy. This is a rare look into the private lives of the children (and, in a few cases, grandchildren) of these classic Hollywood icons, revealing the stresses and inspirations of living with great performers who may or may not have been great parents. Some movie stars protected their offspring, but others used them as publicity props or even made them into rivals. Despite their unusual upbringing, some of the children succeeded in the movies or elsewhere, but many never lived up to the public expectations. Many lost their parents, whether to the extremes of the celebrity lifestyle, to divorce, or to their careers. From the beautiful bedtime stories Harpo Marx and his wife told their four adopted children to explain where they’d come from, to the studded belt Bing Crosby used to punish his sons for not obeying the strict family rules, this work tells the best and worst of growing up in a celebrity home.
Families covered include those of W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Eddie Cantor, Mario Lanza, Ruth Hussey, Jerry Lewis, Douglas Fairbanks and Boris Karloff. Research is drawn from interviews with celebrity offspring, who also provided never-before-published snapshots of Hollywood legends at home.

About the Author(s)

Film historian Michelle Vogel lives in Victoria, Australia. Her popular blog can be found at mvozus.wordpress.com.

Bibliographic Details

Michelle Vogel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: 73 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2046-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      5

1. Arthur Marx      23

2. Billy, Alex, Jimmy and Minnie Marx      37

3. Maxine Marx      44

4. Joan Benny      50

5. Gary Lewis      60

6. Damon Lanza      65

7. Romina Power      71

8. Janet Cantor Gari and Brian Gari      78

9. Peter Ford      88

10. Sir Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.      99

11. Harry Langdon, Jr.      108

12. Leatrice Gilbert Fountain      115

13. Chris Costello and Vickie Abbott Wheeler      131

14. Ron Fields      148

15. Gary Crosby      157

16. Sara Karloff      172

17. Suzanne Lloyd      178

18. Eric Lamond      185

19. John Longenecker      194

Motherhood Missed      206

Bibliography      213

Index      215

Book Reviews & Awards

“wonderful”—Canyon News.