Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hollywood Legends

In the Company of Legends was written just for me. Well, probably not, but I sure felt that way while reading this marvelous show biz memoir by Joan Kramer and David Heeley, who have produced outstanding documentaries about such beloved Hollywood legends as Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart. Although Kramer and Heeley reveal fascinating behind-the-scenes information about these classic movie stars and more, their book also describes how they put together their film portraits despite almost insurmountable obstacles. Their individual talents plus teamwork and powers of persuasion shine through in every chapter -- as does their inspiring persistence.

And who knew a book about making documentaries could be so suspenseful? For example, I was absolutely on the edge of my seat reading about how the dynamic duo persuaded Ginger Rogers to take part in one of their Fred Astaire projects. And I didn’t think they would ever succeed in proving Judy Garland frequently sang “Over the Rainbow” to President Kennedy over the phone.    

I agree with Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, who calls In the Company of Legends “one of the best reasons ever for curling up with a book.” He goes on to praise the memoir because it’s about “dazzling personalities and told by people who actually knew the celebrities they write about, worked with them and, further, socialized with them, aware of their foibles and strengths from first-hand knowledge, not hearsay.”

Among the Kramer and Heeley documentaries are: Katharine Hepburn: All About Me; Bacall on Bogart; The John Garfield Story; The Adventures of Errol Flynn; The Spencer Tracy Legacy; James Stewart: A Wonderful Life; Fonda on Fonda; Fred Astaire: Puttin’ on His Top Hat; Fred Astaire: Change Partners and Dance.

In the Company of Legends, published by Beufort Books, is available on If you are a movie addict like me, you should order it right away.

Also, don’t miss Kramer and Heeley on our Movie Addict Headquarters radio show. They are scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio. After the live episode, an archived segment of their interview will be available for your listening pleasure. Here’s the link:  


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