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Hardcover The Last Days of Dead Celebrities Book

ISBN: 1401351980

ISBN13: 9781401351984

The Last Days of Dead Celebrities

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

A Hollywood insider and gossip columnist shares intimate and enlightening details about the final hours of 15 late celebrities, including John Lennon, John Belushi, Orson Welles, Lucille Ball, Arthur... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Couldn't put it down

I was away for a convention for four days and this book consumed all my airplane time to and from the destination city. I finished it and gave it to my mother when I got home, and now she can't put it down. What surprised me were the sensitive, first hand accounts of these celebrities from people who were with them in their final days or knew them. But mostly those who were there. It was very first person as a read, as opposed to third person, from the outside of their world looking in. And it reminded me how real these celebrities are. They do dumb things, or great things, but have normal moments or occasional hissy fits and then die. I know the topic is rather grim and someone voyeuristic, but I highly recommend this book.

Written with grace, style and tact

If you fear this is going to be a morbid book, think again. The focus here isn't so much on how celebrities ranging from Arthur Ashe to John Lennon died but on how they LIVED their lives. Mitchell Fink seems to recognize that there is actually inspiration to be found and steers clear of a sleezy tell-all. He treats each celebrity with a modicum of respect, while also putting in the details that readers want to know. There were many part of this book which I found moving, from John Ritter's attempts to comfort those around him by saying "I'll be fine" (or words to that effect) in the midst of agonizing physical pain to the courage Arthur Ashe diplayed even after a tactless reporter decided to reveal he had AIDS. The author relies heaviy on actual quotes from people who knew the subjects of this book well and that adds special power and vividness to this book.

Voyeuristic But Often Poignant Look at How Celebrities Died and Legends Arose

The exploitative-sounding title of this book is a bit deceptive since author Mitchell Fink, the New York Daily News' former gossip columnist, actually delves thoughtfully if almost too painstakingly into what led to the demises of fifteen celebrities, an eclectic list for sure - true legends like John Lennon, Lee Strasberg, Orson Welles, Lucille Ball and Milton Berle; more controversial figures such as Tupac Shakur and John Belushi; and comparatively lesser lights. It's an intriguing cross-section of which Fink's major requirement is minimizing any apocryphal information that may have fed into the legacies of these figures. To accomplish this, he interviewed family members, friends and lovers, business associates, and others who could in aggregate chronicle the minutiae of what happened in the last days and hours. What comes across is sometimes trivial, almost bordering on inane (like Ball's penchant for eating franks and beans), but at other times, there are truly unique moments unearthed. The image of Welles lying prone with his typewriter on his bulbous belly is one that I am unlikely forget. More often though, the author adds poignant dimensions that would otherwise been lost, such as Dan Ackroyd's gnawing guilt over his inability to stop best friend Belushi's ongoing addiction to cocaine. Another sad recollection is how Yoko Ono regularly bought chocolate for Lennon, and how after his murder, she ate the last pieces even though she hated chocolate. Despite her family's long history of mental illness, former model Margaux Hemingway, probably the most obscure of the celebrities profiled, is captured in all her desperate loneliness before her suicide, as she unsuccessfully asked five men to marry her. However, Fink's intention is not to humiliate the dead but rather provide a sense of vulnerability to the images we have of them. For the most part, he succeeds. The other celebrity deaths profiled are those of former NFL player Lyle Alzado, tennis great Arthur Ashe, baseball legend Ted Williams (whose tale of post-cryogenics confusion is worthy of a book in itself); John Denver, John Ritter; singer-songwriter Warren Zevon; and NBC reporter David Bloom, whose premature death from an embolism while embedded on the Iraqi frontlines is arguably the saddest story told here.

Documents How Decisions Affect One's Finality

Mitchell Fink knows his subject very well. The nice thing about this book is you learn much more about the celebrities than just their final hours and how they passed. With the broad difference in the celebrities from Lucille Ball to Lyle Alzado the book builds upon what most readers already know about the subjects. Each coverage is sufficiently detailed to gain a good understanding but not so lengthy to become boring. You'll learn new and interesting facts about each and every one of the 15 celebrities.

Simply fantastic

I was thisclose to buying this at the bookstore, but I am a cheapskate, so I didn't. But this is fantastic. Morbid, but fantastic. Yes, we've all heard most of these stories before, but there is something very unique in Fink's approach. He's not writing the gory details, but talking about how the deaths of these larger-than-life figures affected those who were closest to them, and how, so sadly, so many of these could have been prevented, such as Margeaux Hemingway's suicide, and John Ritter's heart problem. Just a fascinating account, that actually avoids much of the tabloidness that Hollywood Babylon waded in.
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