A Year in Books/Day 188: Hollywood Royalty

HearstAbout1910

William Randolph Hearst, circa 1910. He threw all of the best parties, thanks to his sweetheart Marion Davies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Title: Hollywood Royalty
  • Author: Gregory Speck
  • Year Published: 1992 (Birch Lane Press Book/Carol Publishing Group)
  • Year Purchased: 1990s
  • Source: Library sale
  • About: San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst’s estate, was the setting of countless celebrity-gilded parties. An invitation for a weekend stay was not only a passport to bask in temporary opulence so extreme it made members of the movie colony seem like paupers in comparison, it meant that you had truly arrived on the Hollywood scene. Close your eyes. Conjure up a dinner party of seven courses, attended by some of the most fabulous classic movie stars. Your curiosity probably takes the form of many questions, with the big one being: What would they talk about? The setting of Hollywood Royalty is real, the occasion is imaginary and the conversation is composed of snippets from published interviews. Fact and fiction cross borders, on an evening removed from time, to mingle as seductively as the stars in Hearst’s dining room.
  • Motivation: I like when lines are blurred. I love classic film.
  • Times Read: 1 or 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 160: “I (Olivia de Havilland) learned a lot from Jimmy Cagney, and he was always so sweet to me. On A Midsummer Night’s Dream he was very nice to me, and I was so flattered. He would come into my little canvas dressing room, and we would just talk about everything. I couldn’t believe it, for he was already a great star, and it was my first film, way back in 1935.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10