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Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide: A Biography Paperback – 30 Oct 2013

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Product Description

About the Author

Freelance researcher James Zeruk, Jr., lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Peg Entwistle, finally understood 22 Jun. 2014
By Molly D. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a child I remember reading about the beautiful young actress who ended her life by jumping off of the Hollywood sign. I have always wondered what drove her to such a desperate act. James Zeruk Jr. has written a very sensitive and personal biography that is expertly researched. He pulls us into the heart and mind of a gifted actress, and provides a compelling look at Hollywood at that time. I highly recommend this book, it is one of the best biographies I have ever read. It is the only one that has ever brought me to tears.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Thoroughly entertaining and beautifully researched 31 May 2014
By K. Johnson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
It goes to show what good, in depth, non- sensationalistic research will do to a book. Peg had a relatively short career but in a James Zeruk's skilled hands she emerges as a fully rounded personality with a whole life story. Mr Zeruk's excellent research and evocative prose style make Peg and her time come to life. Thoroughly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Myths and the Truths of the Hollywood Sign Girl are Examined 17 Feb. 2015
By Kenneth - Published on
Format: Paperback
A well researched and very informative biography of Peg Entwistle, the girl who was more famous for the way she died than the way she lived. She is the actress who had appeared in many stage plays but just one film who leaped to her death off of the "H" in the Hollywood Sign (at the time, it spelled out Hollywoodland, promoting a new subdivision below it in which Peg lived barely 2 miles away).

What is best about the book is that it recaptures a life which has become too much of a cultural cliche, that of the "failed actress" who had nothing to live for, when in fact Peg Entwistle, even at 24 when she died, had a long stage history and seemingly much to live for. Zeruk corrects many misconceptions about Peg's life and death, most notoriously brought into the pop culture world by Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon," Peg's being only one of many, many fabrications and sensationalized events which Anger amped up for his largely inaccurate book.

What doesn't work so well in the book is Zeruk's method of jumping back and forth. For example, he tells us of Peg's suicide, then back tracks to explain why it happened. He jumps ahead to say Peg was in a successful show, only to reel back a year or two to relate the events which led to it. I'm not sure it this is the result of trying to keep us reading by knowing what's coming (let's face it, anyone who picks up this book will know what is ultimately going to happen to Peg) or just sloppy writing, but it's disconcerting at times.

I also grew tired of Zeruk's sarcastic quips which are peppered throughout the text, usually in parentheses. These come across as a little too precious. For example, in describing Peg's sole film credit, in which the role which was originally written to include a lesbian relationship but then toned down to pass the censors, Zeruk writes of her performance that had it survived intact without being cut to a mere few minutes of screen time she would have been noticed "and not just by mannish, Amazon women." Was that necessary?

Zeruk also seems to go out of his way to paint the Entwistle family as all supportive of Peg, which perhaps they were, but trying to find a villain or two in the piece, paints one of her great aunts as an overbearing harridan. Peg's only husband, who was a chronic alcoholic, also receives "villain" status but in his case the facts definitely seem to support it while the great aunt merely seems to be typical of her time and probably not at all bad intentioned.

Still because of the very much deserving subject matter, the detail and thoroughness with which Zeruk captures Peg, and because it is an engaging, thoroughly interesting read, I give this a well deserved 4 stars. Biographies of the more obscure people from the performing arts have always fascinated me more than reading about the Davises and the Crawfords, and this book is no exception.

I would highly recommend this if you found King Vidor's book about the William Desmond Taylor murder, "A Cast of Killers," to be interesting, as like the Vidor book, Zeruk's biography takes what is today a little known event and makes it fascinating through the skill of the writer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Peg Entwistle and the Hollywood Sign Suicide: a Biography" 7 Jun. 2014
By Judith Kay McGee - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
A well-written biography about Broadway actor Peg Entwistle, who was often mentioned by Bette Davis as one of the best actresses she ever saw. Amongst the e-readers, this book is available in Nook format as well as Kindle. Recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Amazing book! 31 May 2014
By Gia Lynne - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've always found old Hollywood fascinating and Peg's story is one full of hopes and dreams lost. The author truly did his research on his subject. There are no words to describe how wonderfully written Peg's story is. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in old Hollywood and the story of Peg Entwistle. I believe Peg would be very proud of this book. Loved!!! One of my all time favorite reads and will be read for years to come too. Please check this book out - you will not be disappointed!
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