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Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman Hardcover – 17 Nov 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Uk Edition edition (17 Nov. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000255786X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002557863
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

For years, Ingrid Bergman was called the most notorious woman in Hollywood – and one of the most shameful women of the century. From her position as America’s most beautiful, admired and loved actress, she plummeted with astonishing swiftness and was, overnight, pointed out as an immoral woman – ‘an apostle of degradation’, according to one US Senator.

The cause of Bergman’s fall from public grace to national disgrace was her love affair in Italy with director Roberto Rossellini, to whom she bore a child out of wedlock while she still had a husband and daughter in Hollywood. The scandal knocked all other international news from the headlines of the world’s newspapers in 1950.

After a tragic childhood in Sweden, Bergman moved to Nazi Germany and later to Hollywood in its golden age. Arguably the most international star in the history of entertainment, she acted on stage, screen and television in five languages and won three Academy Awards, a Tony and an Emmy. Even to the end, while valiantly fighting an eight year battle with cancer, she continued to work and to earn honours and accolades.

Ingrid Bergman’s life story is as compelling as any of the women she portrayed in dozens of memorable movies and plays – an impressive list that includes 'Intermezzo, Casablanca, Gaslight, The Bells of St Mary’s, 'three of Hitchcock’s films ('Notorious, Spellbound' and 'Under Capricorn), Anastasia, Hedda Gabler, Autumn Sonata 'and 'A Woman Called Golda'. Whether acting the role of saint or sinner, Bergman found in her characters the extremes of her own passionate nature.

Best-selling biographer Donald Spoto, who knew her and had unprecedented access to her husbands, friends, lovers, directors, and co-stars – as well as to her papers, letters and diaries – has written the definitive account of this consummate actress and brave woman. 'Notorious: The Life of Ingrid Bergman' is the epic story of a great actress who not only altered the shape of international celebrity but also significantly changed the world’s ideas about what a woman could be.

Donald Spoto, who earned his PhD at Fordham University , is the author of fifteen books that have been translated into more than twenty languages – among them highly praised biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.


'The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock '(1983)
“Absolutely compulsory reading.”

“Ranks with the best recent literary and political lives.”

'The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams'(1985)
“Probably the best biography of an American playwright since Louis Sheafer’s two volume study of O’Neill. Most accurate, and a full portrait told gently and justly.”

“Likely to remain the definitive work for years to come, a biography as industriously researched as it is beautifully and sensitively written – a riveting chronicle.”

'Laurence Olivier: A Biography '(1992)
“Rivetingly interesting, admirably researched and exquisitely written – wonderful!”

“An astute and complex portrait, embroidered with credible psychological insight and an impressive understanding of Olivier’s craft. A remarkable book.”

'Marilyn Monroe: The Biography'(1993)
“As I read Donald Spoto’s 'Marilyn Monroe', I was seduced into utter fascination by his fairness, his accuracy, his lack of hysteria, his willingness to probe beyond the myths, his empathy, his feminism, his extraordinary humanity.”

“Immensely readable, this book lacks sensationalism and is more scrupulously researched and better written than all those previous hack jobs.”

'A Passion for Life: The Biography of Elizabeth Taylor '(1995)
“Donald Spoto is a class act. A smaller and quieter book than its highly publicised counterpart – and in the end a much more substantial read.”

About the Author

Donald Spoto is the internationally acclaimed author of bestselling biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Elizabeth Taylor. He has taught at major universities in America and continues to lecture throughout the world.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Notorious" is well-written and deeply moving. Thebare facts of Bergman's life indicate that she was ambitious, impulsive, and not a little selfish. And of course we all know that she was beautiful and incomparably compelling. Spoto makes a good case for Bergman as passionate artist, as well, and while the pursuit of Truth does not automatically excuse all bad behavior, it certainly explains a great deal. Ingrid Bergman has gone from saint to sinner to martyr. Donald Spoto restores her humanity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x910e921c) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x910f4078) out of 5 stars A woman called Ingrid. 30 Sept. 2000
By Kiril G. Kundurazieff - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spellbound, Notorious, Anastasia & many other films come to mind when one thinks of Bergman.
This is a detail packed book covering her personal & professional life.
If you want to learn about her relationships, romantic & professional, how she developed & utilized her talent as an actress, & why people the world over admired, loved her & for a brief time despised her, then this is the book for you.
A wonderful collection of photographs is included, as well as an excellent Bibliography & collection of notes.
This is the story of an actress whose performances on screen & her life off the screen changed peoples ideas of what it was to be a woman, & is a must read for Movie fans.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9133ac18) out of 5 stars A Valentine of Superlatives 8 Sept. 2004
By Tout Le Monde - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'd purchased this biography to learn more about a fascinating woman who left an indelible mark on her profession, acting. But my disappointment was great; this is less a biography than an infatuated paean -- something one might write for a fan club or public relations campaign. Though Mr. Spoto and his crew of researchers obviously undertook considerable investigation into Bergman's life, Mr. Spoto failed to complete the last -- and most important -- task of a biographer: a critical analysis of his subject. Instead, throughout the book, Mr. Spoto repeatedly (and I emphasize "repeatedly") flogs readers with superlatives about Bergman's acting, looks, intelligence, strength, spirit, wisdom, and character. Why the Pope hasn't yet canonized this woman, based on Mr. Spoto's writings, is beyond me -- perhaps it is only because she was not Catholic. I do hope that someday another biographer -- say, someone with the talents of Edward Tytell (biographer of Ezra Pound) or Noel Riley Fitch (biographer of Sylvia Beach and Julia Child) -- might undertake the task of penning a more informative, insightful biography of Bergman. The woman certainly deserves this.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x912f4198) out of 5 stars Well-researched, affectionate, even-handed and moving. 8 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Notorious" is well-written and deeply moving. Thebare facts of Bergman's life indicate that she was ambitious,impulsive, and not a little selfish. And of course we all know that she was beautiful and incomparably compelling. Spoto makes a good case for Bergman as passionate artist, as well, and while the pursuit of Truth does not automatically excuse all bad behavior, it certainly explains a great deal. Ingrid Bergman has gone from saint to sinner to martyr. Donald Spoto restores her humanity.
HASH(0x9124b6f0) out of 5 stars ING(MA)RID BERGMAN 29 Oct. 2015
By gcd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
she was the woman in *PERSONA* and made you wonder if reel is *real*.
she is also the mother of issabella Rossellini who was in *BLUE VELVET* and made you wonder if real is *reel*.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9123454c) out of 5 stars Don't mistake the title 1 Sept. 2002
By J B - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book isn't about everything bad that Ingrid did, even though that's the impression the title gives. This is a well and thoroughly researched and very readable biography. Donald Spoto speaks about Ingrid with respect, and although he mentions her weaknesses and failings, I don't feel he's doing it to spread dirt around. If it happened it happened, but he doesn't spend half the book talking about it.
Except where it concerns Rossellini, and that is perfectly understandable, because everyone who knows about Ingrid knows that was a real and terrible time in her life. I think it's sad that she went through all that and the marriage ended up falling apart anyway.
Anyway, basically he speaks of her work. She went crazy without it, and really as I think about it her life was work. That's what I remember froming reading this.
It is a very good book, and like everything I have read by Spoto, is well-written and highly interesting. I recommend it very much.
Is this a creative review or what? I seem to be suffering some sort of blank as far as reviews are concerned this morning.
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