Madsen, Axel 1930-2007 (Guy Brion)

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Madsen, Axel 1930-2007 (Guy Brion)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 27, 1930, in Copenhagen, Denmark; died of pancreatic cancer, April 23, 2007, in Los Angeles, CA. Journalist and author. Madsen was best known for his biographies of Hollywood stars and corporate leaders. Originally, he pursued music studies at the Conservatoire de Musique de Paris, but he abandoned the piano and organ in favor of a journalism career. In the early 1950s he was a writer for the New York Herald Tribune, and he worked for United Press International in Montreal until 1961. Madsen then moved to Hollywood, his interest in movies leading him to write about the industry for such periodicals as Filmkritik, Sight and Sound, and Cahiers du Cinema, as well as several American newspapers. In the late-1960s he did publicity work for Twentieth Century-Fox on the films Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Patton. Madsen began publishing biographies in 1969 with Billy Wilder. Other Hollywood tales would follow, such as John Huston (1978), Gloria and Joe: The Star-Crossed Love Affair of Gloria Swanson and Joe Kennedy (1988), and Stanwyck: The Life and Times of Barbara Stanwyck (1994). Not limited to movie personalities, Madsen also wrote about business leaders such as Coco Chanel in Chanel: A Woman of Her Own (1990), John Jacob Astor: America's First Multimillionaire (2001), and The Marshall Fields (2002), marine biologist Jacques Cousteau in Cousteau: A Biography (1986), and literary studies like Malraux: A Biography (1976). When not writing about people, he penned nonfiction works on more general subjects like Open Road: Truckin' on the Biting Edge (1982). He even penned fiction with the novels Borderlines (1975) and Unisave (1980).



Chicago Tribune, April 30, 2007, Section 3, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2007, p. B16.

Times (London, England), June 7, 2007, p. 68.