10 books to read if you loved A Star Is Born
What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw, by Leah Stewart
This poignant investigation of stardom and its attendant costs gender-swaps the Star Is Born narrative. Josie Lamarr hit cult status with a TV show in her early 20s but hasn't found a role to rival it since; when her boyfriend, rising star Charlie Outlaw, disappears, she has to grapple with her complicated feelings for him while embarking on an adventure that exposes the careful divides we build between our private and public selves.
A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True: 1907-1940, by Victoria Wilson
When A Star Is Born was first released in 1937, rumors swirled that it was based on the real-life marriage of rising star Barbara Stanwyck and vaudeville actor Frank Fay. Their careers followed similar reverse trajectories, with Stanwyck breezing toward immortality as Fay sank into alcoholism. Whether Stanwyck was the real inspiration for this myth or not, Wilson’s in-depth, long-in-the-works biography is the first of its kind — and it's only volume 1. Drawing on more than 200 interviews with Stanwyck’s colleagues and family, as well as her private papers, it examines her iconic, complex life with care.
A Star is Born: Judy Garland and the Film That Got Away, by Lorna Luft and Jeffrey Vance
The 1954 version of A Star Is Born is a hallowed work for Judy Garland fans, as it represents her comeback film and her most soul-baring performance. Lorna Luft, daughter of Garland and producer Sid Luft, partners with film historian Jeffrey Vance for an unprecedented, in-depth look at the making of the movie (including rare photos from Luft’s collection). Essays on other A Star Is Born adaptations further explore the story’s enduring appeal and place in film history.
The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee
When 39-year-old Solène Marchand takes her daughter to meet her favorite boy band, she makes an unexpected connection with 20-year-old band member Hayes Campbell. Navigating everything from their age difference to the paparazzi, Solène both rediscovers happiness and is forced to question whether the cost of fame is worth her renewed sense of self and her whirlwind romance. For those who can’t resist Cooper and Gaga’s chemistry, this steamy novel is an equally heart-rending musical match-up.
A Touch of Stardust, by Kate Alcott
Travel back to A Star Is Born’s roots in the golden age of Hollywood. When wide-eyed Julie Crawford loses her job on the Gone With the Wind set, she is named Carole Lombard’s assistant — just as the actress is beginning her tempestuous, tragic affair with Clark Gable. Alcott brings an insider's knowledge to the glamorous setting: Her late husband was Frank Mankiewicz, whose father wrote Citizen Kane.
Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film, by Don Graham
This meticulously researched history of the 1956 film Giant, which was nominated for 10 Oscars, chronicles the balancing act that director George Stevens had to pull off to wrangle the egos of the era’s biggest stars. If A Star Is Born left you craving more Hollywood drama, this book should scratch the itch.
I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses, by Robert Wagner
Wagner made a name for himself acting in TV and film for more than 50 years, but he’s also known for being romantically linked to many of Hollywood's leading ladies from that time period, including Barbara Stanwyck, who he allegedly hid an affair with because of their age difference, and Natalie Wood, who he was married to when she died. If you’re searching for an intimate look at the lives of the famous and distant, Wagner’s memoir paints vivid portraits of the elusive actresses from a golden era of film.
The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s, by Joseph Egan
Mary Astor, an Oscar-winning silent-film star, may not be a household name, but she was once a tabloid sensation. Her diaries, in which she detailed the sexual exploits of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, were used as a bartering tool in a custody battle, and her secrets threatened the entire film industry.
The Hollywood Daughter, by Kate Alcott
Set in 1950, the year it was revealed that actress Ingrid Bergman had a baby out of wedlock with filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, Alcott's novel follows Jessica Malloy, the fictional teenage daughter of Bergman’s publicist. As Jessica’s hero is dethroned, the real Hollywood scandal provides a backdrop for the moving coming-of-age story.
Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix, by Charles R. Cross
If you can’t stop thinking about Bradley Cooper’s performance as Jackson Maine, the über-talented but drug-addicted rock star, you'll be similarly consumed by Seattle music journalist Charles R. Cross’ best-selling biography of Jimi Hendrix, which illuminates the groundbreaking musician's difficult youth, meteoric rise, and tragic death.