With great affection and a twinkle in his eye, veteran actor Wagner (A Kiss Before Dying; Hart to Hart) recalls Hollywood’s glory days of the 1940s and early 1950s, when class, manners, friendship, and a code of values ruled the city of stars. Although Wagner regales readers with tales of many of his Hollywood friends—from Mary Pickford and Harold Lloyd to Andy Williams and Jimmy Stewart—he never stoops to kiss-and-tell gossip about the stars nor does he wax nostalgic about a past for which he desperately longs. An expert storyteller, Wagner entertains with tale of restaurants like the Brown Derby—where the Cobb Salad was invented—the Trocadero, and the Mocambo, where elegance, entertainment, and great food filled a triple bill every night; in their day, restaurateurs such as Mike Romanoff and Dave Chasen were stars as big as Frank Sinatra and Bette Davis. Wagner fondly recalls growing up in a Hollywood where there was still land and space enough for him to have a horse named Sonny, and he looks back warmly on the various hotels and houses that sprang up in Hollywood and Beverly Hills as the area became a magnet for the movies. As he takes us on a trip down memory lane, showing us how deeply Hollywood has changed, he concludes that “nothing lasts forever, except the movies.”Eyman also worked with Wagner on the actor’s autobiography, Pieces of My Heart, published in 2008. Agent: Mort Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013 Release date: 03/11/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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