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Chandler, Charlotte

Chandler, Charlotte

PERSONAL:

Hobbies and other interests: Film preservation.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY.

CAREER:

Writer.

MEMBER:

Film Society of Lincoln Center (board member).

WRITINGS:

Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978, revised edition, Citadel Press (Secaucus, NJ), 1992, reprinted with an introduction by Bill Crosby, 2007.

(With Ray Stricklyn) The Ultimate Seduction, Double-day (New York, NY), 1984, revised edition published as Confessions of a Nightingale, S. French (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Federico Fellini) I, Fellini, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Billy Wilder) Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2008.

I, Fellini has been translated into Italian.

ADAPTATIONS:

Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography is being produced as a stage play by David Brown.

SIDELIGHTS:

Charlotte Chandler specializes in biographies of notable film artists. As a writer for Kirkus Reviews wrote in a review of Chandler's book It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, a Personal Biography, Chandler's "method is to talk with every conceivable survivor who's ever worked with her subject." With her biography of Hitchcock, Chandler summarizes—in chronological order—the making of the director's fifty-three films, relying on stories and tidbits told to her by those who worked on the sets, including actors and crew members. While praising her thoroughness, the commentator for Kirkus Reviews stated, "What's missing is greater selectivity—Chandler dutifully summarizes even the most unrevealing interviews."

The author's biography of Billy Wilder, Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography, was written in conjunction with the famed director. In a review for Reviewer's Bookwatch, Susan Bethany commented that, due to Wilder's participation, the biography was "close to an autobiography"; Bethany further referred to the writing as "witty" and "insightful." Chandler also collaborated with another of her subjects, Italian film director Federico Fellini, on a biography of him. Fourteen years of interviews with the subject, as well as with many celebrities who worked with him, resulted in I, Fellini. In his review of the book for America, Richard A. Blake called the work "massive." Written primarily in the first person, the work takes on an autobiographical tone, focusing more on the director as a person. Blake wrote, "Surprisingly, references to the films are sparse. To be fair, Charlotte Chandler … clearly intended to focus her attention on personalities rather than on film criticism."

Variety contributor Wendy Smith called The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography a "vibrant portrait," adding that "a legendary figure comes to life with immediacy and particularity." In her biography of the star of such films as All about Eve, Dark Victory, and Now, Voyager, the author draws from extensive past interviews with Davis, as well interviews with friends and colleagues, to paint a portrait of a strong-willed woman who used her inner strength to carve out a stellar film career, but whose own personal life was much less successful, from her relationship with family to those with the men she loved. The author also reveals a woman who kept a grudge against any insult but also managed to overcome personal issues in her life to give stellar performances. The book includes Davis's opinions of other actors, as well as the hurt she felt over the book by her daughter, B.D. Hyman, about her and their family life. In fact, Davis never spoke to her daughter after that book came out. The author also tells of Davis's opinion about her reputation for being difficult to work with on the film set.

"Readers will enjoy the familiar tone and casual anecdotes as the actress openly discusses everything," wrote Kathleen Hughes of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone in Booklist. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Stephanie Zacharek commented: "The story is told largely in Davis's own words, and her recollections of her early years (her father, an intelligent, distant man, abandoned the family when Bette was 7), as well as of her adventures in Hollywood in the 30's, are sharp and affecting." Zacharek went on to note in the same review that the author "is a respectful biographer, addressing with great sensitivity the more painful episodes in Davis's life."

The author tackles the biography of another legendary screen star during Hollywood's golden age in Ingrid:Ingrid Bergman, a Personal Biography, which was called "illuminating" by Biography contributor Kathy English. Once again, the author relies on past interviews with the actress herself as well as interviews with a wide range of family members, fellow actors, directors, and lovers. The biography explores the actress, from her early life on through her great film successes, the moral outrage Bergman drew in the 1950s when she left her husband after becoming pregnant by director Roberto Rossellini, and her final days before she died of cancer in 1982. Among Bergman's notable films are the classics Gaslight, Casablanca, and the Alfred Hitchcock films Notorious and Spellbound.

"This engaging read about an unforgettable screen actress contains valuable synopses of all her films," noted Barbara Kundanis in the Library Journal. New York Times Book Review contributor Howard Hampton noted that "the book gradually uncorks some enjoyably incidental oral history," adding: "Chandler managed to interview Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, their daughter Isabella and many others who were close to them, gathering a wealth of raw material in the process."

Joan Crawford also starred in films at the same time as Davis and is the subject of Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, a Personal Biography. The book's title comes from the Crawford quote: "I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door," as noted on the Classic Movies Web site. In addition to starring in movies such as Mildred Pierce and, with Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Crawford was also the subject of the unflattering memoir Mommie Dearest, written by her adopted daughter, which was later adapted for film.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, May 11, 1996, Richard A. Blake, review of I, Fellini, p. 28.

Biography, summer, 2006, Stephanie Zacharek, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography, p. 514; spring, 2007, Kathy English, review of Ingrid: Ingrid Bergman, a Personal Biography, p. 248; summer, 2007, Howard Hampton, review of Ingrid, p. 415.

Booklist, February 1, 2006, Kathleen Hughes, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 15.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2006, C. McCutcheon, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 304.

Christian Science Monitor, March 14, 1980, David Sterritt, "Why Groucho Was ‘The One, the Only …’" p. 19; February 9, 1984, David Sterritt, "A Guide to the Great Achievers: Author Chandler," p. 1.

Internet Bookwatch, June, 2007, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, a Personal Biography, p. 1175; December 15, 2005, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 1307.

Library Journal, February 15, 1984, review of The Ultimate Seduction, p. 369; January 1, 2006, Roy Liebman, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 120; February 1, 2007, Barbara Kundanis, review of Ingrid, p. 73.

National Post, April 14, 2007, Tim Robey, review of Ingrid, p. 14.

New York, February 13, 1984, Darcy O'Brien, review of The Ultimate Seduction, p. 70.

New York Times Book Review, June 11, 2006, Stephanie Zacharek, "All about Bette," review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 23; June 3, 2007, Howard Hampton, "Siren," review of Ingrid, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, November 28, 2005, review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 31; January 8, 2007, review of Ingrid, p. 43.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, October, 2004, Susan Bethany, review of Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography.

Tribune Books, November 22, 1992, review of Hello, I Must Be Going: Groucho and His Friends, p. 8.

Variety, March 20, 2006, Wendy Smith, "Bio Gives Voice to a Legendary Talent," review of The Girl Who Walked Home Alone, p. 30.

ONLINE

Classic Movies,http://www.thegoldenyears.org/ (November 21, 2007), quote from Joan Crawford.

Simon & Schuster Web Site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (June 6, 2005), brief profile of author.

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