Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy is an in-depth biography of a fascinating man who achieved a dream that morphed into a nightmare - and who died far too young. You don’t need to be a movie fan to get caught up in Cregar’s desperate ambition, meteoric success, and heartbreaking downfall.
In 1944, Laird Cregar played Jack the Ripper in The Lodger, giving one of the most haunting performances in Hollywood history. It was the climax of a strange celebrity that saw this young actor win a sinister distinction as the portrayer of psychopaths and villains. Standing 6’3” and weighing over 300 pounds, he was determined to break free of this typecasting. Cregar desired to become “a beautiful man” and, to this end, embarked on a brutal diet
that killed him at the age of 31. What was this sensitive man really like? What other personal demons hastened his early death?
The first full biography of Cregar, this book tells the candid, heartbreaking story of this brilliant, doomed actor and the monolithic Hollywood in which he lived and died. This 329-page biography contains appendices of his film, theatre, and radio work, plus 100 photographs, many never before published.
Available through publisher McFarland & Company, Inc. (LC - McFarland), through Amazon (LC-Amazon), and through other on-line book websites.
Decades of research…the author brings Cregar back to vivid life in this culmination of an ‘almost lifelong’ fascination with the actor…as with most good Hollywood biographies, this one interweaves its subject’s life story with the story of the movie business itself…Mank finds joy as well as tragedy in Cregar’s attempt to live his dream…gives rich life to an unknown Hollywood story.—Booklist;
Mank offers one of the first in-depth studies of Samuel Laird Cregar…a compelling, cautionary tale of an actor who held his own—Library Journal.
Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy... is a fascinating study of the noir legend...you'll be rewarded with a remarkable profile on a previously private actor who shrouded himself in mystery.—Classic Images (Award for Best Film Noir Book of the Year)
I’ve written about the actor Colin Clive in the past, but One Man Crazy! The Life and Death of Colin Clive is the man’s first full biography.
It was adventurously researched (to say the least) and the new discoveries were startling. This became far more than a career study of the actor who indelibly played those baroque roles. It became a harrowing portrait of a man who, due to the “pet devils” in his life, was already a time bomb when he first arrived in Hollywood in 1929. That he lasted until 1937 is almost surprising.
It’s primarily the story of personal demons, which now and then peeked out at audiences in the roles Clive so fervently played on the screen. The book was emotionally draining to write, in all honesty. Coming after my
challenging Laird Cregar bio, published early in 2018, it might be a very long time, if ever, before I tackle another project with the inherent angst of this one. (Please go to my “GWM Overview” page to learn more about why finishing the Clive biography in 2018 was so very difficult.)
Production wise...375 pages, over 200 illustrations. Photos of Clive at his prep school, and as a cadet at Sandhurst. Pictures of rare documents testifying to the tragedies in his family that tormented him. Stage shots, film stills, behind-the-scenes candids, portraits of his wife, his lover, shots of his homes, his haunts, the church where he was married, the mortuary that handled his funeral, art work dedicated to him, etc., etc. The bottom line? Colin Clive was a brilliant actor who had an all-too-brief life and left a fascinating film legacy. He DESERVES attention. He was Henry Frankenstein, “in the name of God!”
Available through publisher Midnight Marquee Press, through Amazon (CC-Amazon), and through other on-line book websites.
A juicy biography that is well-written and researched. If you only know Clive for his turn in Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), be prepared for a wild ride.—Classic Images (Award for one of the five Best Books of 2019)
***Please go to the "Body of Work" link on the left for a complete list of all my Film Histories, biographies, DVD work, magazine articles, etc.***