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Full ScreenPhotos:If You Love Old Hollywood Gossip, Put These Books, Films, and Podcasts on Your List

You Must Remember This

Karina Longworths must-listen podcast is a treasure trove of forgotten and secret stories from Hollywoods early decades. In its latest season, Longworth explores Hollywood Babylon, experimental filmmaker Kenneth Angers 1959 book that purportedly had all the juiciest gossip of Hollywoods golden age. In the series, Longworth dives right into the rumors, sussing out Angers wildest stories about figures like Fatty Arbuckle and silent-film star Olive Thomas.Photo: Photograph by Emily Perl. Courtesy of Panoply (cover art).*Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood*

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

In the upcoming documentary, which opens in New York on August 3, filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer tells the story of Scotty Bowers, a Hollywood pimp who claims he set up old Hollywoods closeted stars with private trysts. His claims are grand and sexy. From Spencer Tracy to Katharine Hepburn to Cary Grant, theres no limit to the stars Scotty alleges he worked with. (Photo: Left, Scotty and friends; Right, Scotty in uniform.)Photo: Photos courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment.*Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood*

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood

In this 2005 book, author Donald Bogle dives into the history and lore of famous black actors in Hollywoods earliest decades, from Stepin Fetchit to Dorothy Dandridge. Bogle traces what it was really like being a black star at the time, shedding light on the rise of figures like Lena Horne and Sammy Davis Jr.Photo: Courtesy of One World.*Bring on the Empty Horses*

Bring on the Empty Horses

In 1975, Oscar-winning actor David Niven released this book, a collection of his favorite star-studded run-ins in his years in the business. There are detailed passages of his friendships with Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, charming and thrilling anecdotes of his lengthy career and personal life.Photo: Courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.*Tab Hunter Confidential*

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his autobiography (later made into a documentary, available on Netflix), actor Tab Hunter spoke freely about his acting and singing career, which began in the 1950s. The actor also shed light on his personal life, revealing his relationships with men like Pyscho star Anthony Perkins and ice-skater Ronnie Robertson. He also dished on what it was like working with studio heads like Jack Warner and getting set up on publicity tours with actresses like Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds. (Photo: Tab Hunter photographed in an LA court during the trial of Confidential magazine in August 1957.)Photo: From Everett Collection.*Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood*

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

This 2014 book by William Mann is a nifty crossover for old Hollywood and true-crime fans, a deep dive on the 1922 murder of noted director William Desmond Taylor. Tinseltown also folds in rumors and figures of the era, making special note of power players like Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor (whose nickname was simply “Creepy”) and many, many others.Photo: Courtesy of Harper Paperbacks.*The Sewing Circle*

The Sewing Circle

Hollywood is the sort of place where actors can win awards for playing members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, but openly gay actors risk possibly being thrust out of the business. Actors largely kept their mouths shut about their sexuality in the days of Old Hollywood, leaving a few clues to history as to how they might have truly identified. In the 1995 book The Sewing Circle, author Axel Madsen writes about the rumored bisexual or lesbian actresses in the industry, from Garbo to Crawford, detailing how they navigated their private lives away from the public eye. The books title is the nickname for the industrys closeted community. (Photo: Greta Garbo in the 1931 film Susan Lenox- Her Fall and Rise.)Photo: BettmannPreviousNext

<em>You Must Remember This</em>

You Must Remember This

Karina Longworths must-listen podcast is a treasure trove of forgotten and secret stories from Hollywoods early decades. In its latest season, Longworth explores Hollywood Babylon, experimental filmmaker Kenneth Angers 1959 book that purportedly had all the juiciest gossip of Hollywoods golden age. In the series, Longworth dives right into the rumors, sussing out Angers wildest stories about figures like Fatty Arbuckle and silent-film star Olive Thomas.Photograph by Emily Perl. Courtesy of Panoply (cover art).

<em>Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood</em>

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

In the upcoming documentary, which opens in New York on August 3, filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer tells the story of Scotty Bowers, a Hollywood pimp who claims he set up old Hollywoods closeted stars with private trysts. His claims are grand and sexy. From Spencer Tracy to Katharine Hepburn to Cary Grant, theres no limit to the stars Scotty alleges he worked with. (Photo: Left, Scotty and friends; Right, Scotty in uniform.)Photos courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment.

<em>Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood</em>

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood

In this 2005 book, author Donald Bogle dives into the history and lore of famous black actors in Hollywoods earliest decades, from Stepin Fetchit to Dorothy Dandridge. Bogle traces what it was really like being a black star at the time, shedding light on the rise of figures like Lena Horne and Sammy Davis Jr.Courtesy of One World.

<em>Bring on the Empty Horses</em>

Bring on the Empty Horses

In 1975, Oscar-winning actor David Niven released this book, a collection of his favorite star-studded run-ins in his years in the business. There are detailed passages of his friendships with Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, charming and thrilling anecdotes of his lengthy career and personal life.Courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

<em>Hedda Hopper: The Whole Truth and Nothing But</em>

Hedda Hopper: The Whole Truth and Nothing But

Few people have frightened Hollywood as much as Hedda Hopper, the imperious, conservative gossip queen (and hat obsessive) who dug up dirt on all of the industrys biggest stars. Her book opens on one of the eras biggest names: Elizabeth Taylor, an actress Hopper knew for most of her life. From there, she digs into stories about plenty of other top performers, including Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra.Courtesy of Graymalkin Media, LLC.

<em>The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons</em>

The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons

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Speaking of gossip queens . . . Parsons was the self-proclaimed “first movie columnist in the world” well before Hopper began her reign. The rumor mill O.G. kept tabs on the goings-on of Hollywoods elite, to the tune of millions of readers. This 2005 book by Samantha Barbas chronicles Parsonss Illinois upbringing and her arrival in Los Angeles, later going deep on her feud with Orson Welles. (Photo: Louella poses with Mickey Hargitay, Jayne Mansfield and Jimmy McHugh in the 1950s.)From Everett Collection.

<em>Memo from David O. Selznick</em>

Memo from David O. Selznick

In this 1972 book, film historian Rudy Behlmer compiles memos Selznick dictated over the course of his decades-long career as one of Hollywoods top producers and studio executives, responsible for guiding indelible classics like Alfred Hitchcocks Rebecca and the original A Star Is Born. He also shepherded Gone with the Wind, the subject of numerous memos in this book. The memos contain Selznicks thoughts about everything, from his irritation with painfully obvious music scores to the “au natural” appeal of Ingrid Bergmans eyebrows.Courtesy of Modern Library.

<em>Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer</em>

Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer

Few film figures have ever been as powerful as Louis B. Mayer, the producer and co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM). He was a regular star-maker, developing careers for talented young things like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. But for all his intelligence and generosity, he could also be domineering and fearsome, all of which is covered in this 2005 book by Scott Eyman. (Photo: Meyer in California, circa 1935.)From ©Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis/Getty Images.

<em>Rita Moreno: A Memoir</em>

Rita Moreno: A Memoir

The EGOT-winning actress tells her remarkable life story in this autobiography. While theres nothing gossipy about that, the actress does also share details about watching Gene Kelly dance through a 103-degree fever on the set of Singin in the Rain, and dodging a flirtatious Jack Nicholson on the studio lot—as well as her torrid, years-long affair with Marlon Brando, and a disappointing sexual rendezvous with Elvis Presley.Courtesy of Celebra.

<em>Mommie Dearest</em>

Mommie Dearest

Fans of Joan Crawford were in for the exposé of a lifetime when the stars daughter released a memoir detailing what life was like in the Crawford household. Christina Crawford, Joans adoptive daughter, accuses her mother of being an abusive alcoholic, so aggressively controlling that she lost her mind over the sight of wire hangers (a moment that was heavily dramatized in the filmed version of the book, starring Faye Dunaway as the late leading lady). And as an honorable mention: the FX series Feud lightly touches on this material, then dives into Crawfords notorious spats with Bette Davis. Its a juicy, and at times quite moving, depiction of two stars at loggerheads.Courtesy of William Morrow & Co.

<em>Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema</em>

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema

In this 2014 book, author Anne Helen Petersen dives into some of Hollywoods more sensational stories, reaching all the way back to the heyday of Mary Pickford. Stars get whole chapters dedicated to their various scandals; prepare for stories about Jean Harlow, Mae West, and James Dean.Courtesy of Plume.

<em>Tab Hunter Confidential</em>

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his autobiography (later made into a documentary, available on Netflix), actor Tab Hunter spoke freely about his acting and singing career, which began in the 1950s. The actor also shed light on his personal life, revealing his relationships with men like Pyscho star Anthony Perkins and ice-skater Ronnie Robertson. He also dished on what it was like working with studio heads like Jack Warner and getting set up on publicity tours with actresses like Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds. (Photo: Tab Hunter photographed in an LA court during the trial of Confidential magazine in August 1957.)From Everett Collection.

<em>Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood</em>

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood

This 2014 book by William Mann is a nifty crossover for old Hollywood and true-crime fans, a deep dive on the 1922 murder of noted director William Desmond Taylor. Tinseltown also folds in rumors and figures of the era, making special note of power players like Paramount Pictures founder Adolph Zukor (whose nickname was simply “Creepy”) and many, many others.Courtesy of Harper Paperbacks.

<em>The Sewing Circle</em>

The Sewing Circle

Hollywood is the sort of place where actors can win awards for playing members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, but openly gay actors risk possibly being thrust out of the business. Actors largely kept their mouths shut about their sexuality in the days of Old Hollywood, leaving a few clues to history as to how they might have truly identified. In the 1995 book The Sewing Circle, author Axel Madsen writes about the rumored bisexual or lesbian actresses in the industry, from Garbo to Crawford, detailing how they navigated their private lives away from the public eye. The books title is the nickname for the industrys closeted community. (Photo: Greta Garbo in the 1931 film Susan Lenox- Her Fall and Rise.)

Before TMZ, there was Confidential. And Hedda Hopper. And Louella Parsons. And books and movies stuffed with the greatest gossip old Hollywood had to offer. In the last few weeks alone, two yummy harbingers of golden-age gossip have made their way to the fore: the podcast You Must Remember This, which has taken a deep dive into the wild rumors in Hollywood Babylon, and the upcoming documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, about a well-connected pimp who allegedly secured sexual partners for all of the eras biggest stars. With those two projects under your belt, go ahead and tuck into these other releases thatll fill you in on all of Tinseltowns most salacious old-school scandals.

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.

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