Veronica Hardcover – 1 Jan 1969
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DUST JACKET HAS SHELF RUB AND SMALL 'NICKS' HERE AND THERE BUT IS INTACT, PAGES ARE BEGGING TO BROWN AT THE EDGES DUE TO AGE BUT NOTHING SERIOUS AND BOOK IS STILL IN GOOD READABLE CONDITION.
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The first half of the book deals with Lake's early life and movie career. The question everyone has about Lake is the same: How did one of the 40's most iconic actresses end up living in obscurity? Lake recounts her Hollywood days, failed marriages, and eventual ditching of Hollywood altogether. Alcohol as a curse is pretty apparent, and she's pretty frank about it. Sadly, a lot of the details of her movie career are glossed over. Her relationship with Alan Ladd, for example, is summed up in a paragraph, even though four of her best known pictures were with him.
The second half of the book is a bit bizarre. There are chapters devoted to her life after Hollywood, mostly doing off-Broadway and dinner theatre on the east coast. You get the sense that she was more proud of playing Peter Pan on Cape Cod than any of her film work. She talks a lot about a relationship she had with an alcoholic sailor who drinks himself to death, and about what sounds like a pretty weird, crazy cat lady life in Miami.
The book ends with her sounded optimistic about the future. She talks about how her trade is really her life, and how she'll keep acting. Sadly, she would die in only a few years at age 50.
Whatever else anyone can say, Veronica Lake took acting seriously and was proud of her craft. That really shines through in the book. That she was plagued with substance abuse and mental problems, that comes through also. I think this is a frank, honest look back at her life. It's tragic she couldn't find the help she needed.
I think the book clearly expresses her alcoholism. She turned to drinking EVERY time she had a rough spot in her life--one of her marriages going bad, being out of money. In fact, she hung out with the merchant marinemen while dating Andy Elickson--and they all would drink for many hours.
I don't remember about the age thing, but I really think she was honest. She surprised me. She sounds tough, sarcastic and not real nice many times. So, I think you get a clear-cut view of a woman trying to make it from living with an over-bearing mother pushing her to be something she wasn't--she didn't really care about being a 'star'(her real father dying when she was very young).
There were a lot of 'honest' type remarks in there about herself and others, but it's not a show and tell like many other stars or biographers write about. Veronica knows when to name names and when not to. It's sad actually, her story. Her deepest love, Andy--she never married. She was a survivor and I admire her for many things she did even though she was a 'star'. It didn't go to her head at all. She went through a lot. She was a waitress at one time just to make ends meet. Fans sent her money after learning of this, but she returned all their money. A pride thing she said.
I'd like to know the rest of the story--this was written by her 2 years after I was born. I think it's very informative if you are a fan. I was more curious than a fan since I didn't know much about her and don't think I saw any of her films. Apparently, she had a natural gift for acting, especially in comdy, surprisingly. She tells it like it sounds as it was, that's for sure. And don't get me wrong---she seems nice enough, but seems to have a negative view of most things. I think her honesty speaks through loud and clear. Just reading the first chaper will tell you that! And she wasn't a fake.
The book is still a good read and offers a look at Hollywood as it was at the end of its golden era. Lots of behind the scenes stuff and interaction with other actors/directors/producers of the day.
Although listed as an "autobiography", the title page says "By Veronica Lake with Donald Bain".