What is best about the book is that it recaptures a life which has become too much of a cultural cliche A well researched and very informative biography of Peg Entwistle, the girl who was more famous for the way she died than the way she lived. What is best about the book is that it recaptures a life which has become too much of a cultural cliche, that of the "failed actress" who had nothing to live for, when in fact Peg Entwistle, even at 24 when she died, had a long stage history and seemingly much to live for.
Zeruk corrects many misconceptions about Peg's life and death, most notoriously brought into the pop culture world by Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon," Peg's being only one of many, many fabrications and sensationalized events which Anger amped up for his largely inaccurate book. What doesn't work so well in the book is Zeruk's method of jumping back and forth. For example, he tells us of Peg's suicide, then back tracks to explain why it happened. He jumps ahead to say Peg was in a successful show, only to reel back a year or two to relate the events which led to it.
I'm not sure it this is the result of trying to keep us reading by knowing what's coming let's face it, anyone who picks up this book will know what is ultimately going to happen to Peg or just sloppy writing, but it's disconcerting at times. I also grew tired of Zeruk's sarcastic quips which are peppered throughout the text, usually in parentheses. These come across as a little too precious. For example, in describing Peg's sole film credit, in which the role which was originally written to include a lesbian relationship but then toned down to pass the censors, Zeruk writes of her performance that had it survived intact without being cut to a mere few minutes of screen time she would have been noticed "and not just by mannish, Amazon women.
Zeruk also seems to go out of his way to paint the Entwistle family as all supportive of Peg, which perhaps they were, but trying to find a villain or two in the piece, paints one of her great aunts as an overbearing harridan. Peg's only husband, who was a chronic alcoholic, also receives "villain" status but in his case the facts definitely seem to support it while the great aunt merely seems to be typical of her time and probably not at all bad intentioned.
Still because of the very much deserving subject matter, the detail and thoroughness with which Zeruk captures Peg, and because it is an engaging, thoroughly interesting read, I give this a well deserved 4 stars. Biographies of the more obscure people from the performing arts have always fascinated me more than reading about the Davises and the Crawfords, and this book is no exception. I would highly recommend this if you found King Vidor's book about the William Desmond Taylor murder, "A Cast of Killers," to be interesting, as like the Vidor book, Zeruk's biography takes what is today a little known event and makes it fascinating through the skill of the writer.
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Dec 10, Kayla rated it it was amazing. Superbly written and well-researched. I justed finished the book, and I will tell you that I learned about this book, before it was published, you see I have been Facebook Friends with James since February Now, I must give you some background before I get you my review. I need to blow off some steam. You see, I knew James before the book was written.
Or, I should say he was still writing the book when I because Facebook Friends with him. So I went to the web site and found a way to order it.
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I thought I had preordered the book before it was actually published, how can it already be backordered? I remember I came home early from work, and its raining and the Post Office had sit it on my porch and its being rain on. I was livid! I needed to wait, after all I had waited over six months for it! And I had just order some books from the Oak Lawn Library. So, I read all the books that had on loan. Uh-Oh, this is NOT a good sign. So, I accidently starting reading the book and before I knew it was thru the Acknowledgements, Foreword, Preface, and I finished the Prologue before I knew it.
But, when the author can make all those so enlightening, entertaining and educational you want to continue, but remember I owned this book, so I can read it anytime, anywhere I like. The book itself is awkward to read, its the size of a Coffee Table Book. And I thought that with beautiful cover, it would make a perfect Coffee Table Book.
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- Peg Entwistle: The Starlet Who Killed Herself By Jumping Off The Hollywood Sign.
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However no one reads Coffee Table Books, and this book should be read! James tells you that he is going to tell you the story in chronological order! I hate when the author begins to tell you the story, and then stops and on Chapter Three, he needs to give you some background. Zeruk writes her story into three acts, so fitting for a person who loves Broadway! James writing is so smooth and he writes with great clarity. You will not have to stop and pick up a dictionary, because the author was trying to impress you with his vocabulary. And his book contains some little known gems.
Like Peg was married before and her husband had a son, he did not tell her about. The son, also became famous, acted on broadway, did movies and ended up on one of my favorite television shows. He ended up more famous than his Step-Mother! I could tell you who this man is, but I think you need to read the book, enjoy the surprise. Now the second gem I will tell you, you may already know. She was Glinda the Good Witch.
I told you that he wrote the book in Three Acts.
Act one, you learn when and where she was born, who her parents were, and the trauma she had to suffer through in her early childhood. She would end up losing both her parents at a very early age. In Act Two, you will discover just how far she went on Broadway, she was making a name for herself.
In retrospect, if Peg has just stayed in New York, New York, there may not be a book about her suicide. Act Three is sad, and again, you already know the ending, so there is no way James Zeruk was going to make this suspenseful, and that was not his intent, he wanted you to be endeared to Peg Entwistle and to love her, understand her, like him.
He succeeds in this endeavor! We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
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Viagogo facing contempt of court proceedings. All-parliamentary group for theatre set up by former actors turned MPs. John Arbogast, a park ranger, claims to have seen Peg's ghost on several occasions. Devin Morgan, a resident of Beachwood Canyon, also can verify the gardenia connection. One afternoon she was taking an exercise hike up the trail near the sign. Instead of walking, she seemed to almost glide.
Peg Entwistle - Biography - IMDb
She wasn't floating Although the area is off-limits to trespassers, they jumped the fence and headed up. On their way back down, Brian slipped and fell part way down the hill. As he began to make his way back toward the others, he saw someone on the path walking toward him. She walked effortlessly up the hill. Her footsteps made no sound. There are two odd, synchronistic postscripts to this story:.
In , Brian Keith also committed suicide, ten weeks after his daughter committed suicide. Very soon after Peg Entwistle's death, a letter arrived at her house from the Hollywood Playhouse, offering her a part in a play. The role was of a woman who commits suicide. Continue Reading.