Book review: LIFE AT THE MARMONT
Raymond Sarlot and Fred E. Basten
Publisher: Penguin Books - Reprint edition, April 30, 2013
Paperback: $16.00, 368 pages
Formats: paperback, various e-readers, Audible
From the publisher:
Back in print after two decades, the story of Hollywood’s most exclusive hotel and its star-studded guest list Raymond Sarlot bought the Chateau Marmont in 1975, but what was originally a business purchase became a love affair as he delved into the hotel’s incredible history. From its perch overlooking the Sunset Strip, the glamorous Marmont reigned for decades as the spot for artists, writers, musicians, and actors of every stripe and remains a home-away-from-home for A-listers like Scarlett Johansson and Johnny Depp. Here, Sarlot and coauthor Fred E. Basten share a wealth of scandalous and intriguing tales about them all, from the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Era like Jean Harlow and Grace Kelly to idols of the sixties and seventies like Jim Morrison and John Belushi (who tragically died there in 1982). Whether your obsession is Hollywood history or celebrity gossip, Life at the Marmont has plenty of gripping, juicy stories to fascinate.
LIFE AT THE MARMONT STILL SHINES!
OK I admit it, I'm a junkie of the "golden" days of Hollywood. When stars looked like stars and there was a sense of glamour and fantasy. And that's as it should be, they were, after all, selling illusions, pretending to be someone they weren't, living fictional lives that were projected on huge screens in places that used to be called movie "palaces."
So I was destined to lap up every page and every story that authors Raymond Sarlot and Fred E. Basten told. And just for the record, I've stayed at the Marmont many times, on various floors, in various sized rooms, and once, just once, in a poolside bungalow. I got upgraded for that treat! And it was swell! So I know the hallways, the back doors, the infamous lobby and the little cubby that's the front desk.
Now, about this fantastic book! Starting in 1977 then whooshing you back to the beginning in 1926, it's gossipy and dishy and full of details, and that's what you want in any book about Hollywood. This book was first published back in 1987, co-author Basten has included a really great afterward that brings more recent thoughts about the Marmont into the mix.
One of favorite parts is when you find out HOW the dishy gossip was getting into the press, back when the hotel was newer. Word of warning that's still true today, never assume. People are never who they say they are. I was intrigued to read the dish about the late Grace Kelly and her uh... friendliness towards men. That blonde bombshell Jean Harlow had a super protective "stage mom," who was also a Christian Scientist and didn't want her daughter hospitalized for surgery.
Over the years since it first opened it's doors, film and theater stars, producers, directors, as well as writers and always the incredibly wealthy, which in more recent time included rockers and TV people, were covered in this book. The sad death of Jim Belushi is tastefully covered too.
This book won't be for everyone, but if you love old Hollywood or want to read about the way people lived and how Hollywood grew, these are the stories for you. LIFE AT THE MARMONT is told through brief bits and snags, tidbits and quick glimpses, but those are enough to tell the story of the castle on the hill, about LIFE AT THE MARMONT.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
I'll be adding this to my book shelf about Hollywood, you should too!
**This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.