I’m reading (and enjoying) Peter Biskind’s long-awaited Warren Beatty bio, Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America.
The fact that the controlling and prevaricating star cooperated with Biskind at all–Beatty is quoted liberally throughout the book–is a testament to both the writer’s close relationship with him and an extraordinary amount of patience. Biskind warned Beatty that he was going to write what he wanted to write. And the Vanity Fair writer, whose very gossipy first book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls sold more copies than his second, Down and Dirty Pictures, knows how to write a good lede. Star‘s first chapter takes off with Beatty screwing older woman Joan Collins six or seven times a day: “Maybe he did, but I just lay there,” Collins said. UPDATE: The New York Post predictably focuses on Beatty’s sexual conduct.
In his candid introduction, Biskind explains that he figures that Beatty went along as much as he did (withholding all the way) because he was hoping that his book would drive away several others in the works. But Ellis Amburn’s mass-market paperback came and went in 2002, and Suzanne Finstad published her meaty biography, Warren Beatty: A Private Man, in 2005.
Beatty works in mysterious ways. What better way to grab attention for Biskind’s book than to have famed attorney Bert Fields release a statement to the Huffington Post, denying that Biskind’s book was authorized:
“Mr. Biskind’s tedious and boring book on Mr. Beatty was not authorized by Mr. Beatty and should not be published as an authorized biography. It contains many false assertions and purportedly quotes Mr. Beatty as saying things he never said. Other media should not repeat things from the book on the assumption that they are true or that the book is an authorized biography.”