Kennedys in Hollywood

Lawrence J. Quirk, Author
Lawrence J. Quirk, Author Taylor Publishing Company (TX) $24 (382p) ISBN 978-0-87833-934-1
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Paperback - 408 pages - 978-0-8154-1296-0
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The enduring soap-operatic status of the Kennedy family fuels yet another volume of Tinselown tidbits. Boasting social ties to the Kennedys via his grandfather and various uncles, veteran Hollywood observer Quirk (Fasten Your Seatbelts, etc.) cuts and pastes material he's collected during decades of entertainment world interviews. His best passages appear early on, when he chronicles patriarch Joseph Kennedy's legendary penchant for silent film stars (like Gloria Swanson), shady business dealings and political ambitions. Quirk seems genuinely intrigued by this material. But as the narrative progresses, he loses his focus and his prose gets sloppier (""Lee [Remick] liked to spread herself around""). JFK is a shadowy figure here, but Peter Lawford, with his boozy, bisexual life, makes for a far more vivid, if supporting, character. Quirk takes time out to offer iconoclastic, withering opinions on Marilyn Monroe (""...not a very nice person... monstrously self-pitying and self-dramatizing"") and wraps up with a look at the younger Kennedy generation, including John Kennedy Jr., whom he claims has real acting talent. Quirk's main point, in fact, besides recycling gossip, seems to be a lament that the Kennedy men have never been movie stars. ""Certainly the Kennedys, in the way they raised their sons, were guilty not only of creativity thwarting--forcing talented actors to become lawyers, for instance--but of inculcating ridiculously lopsided sexual and romantic values."" Photos, not seen by PW. 80,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)
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