When James Bawden arrived precisely four minutes and twenty seconds late to interview the esteemed and ever fashionable Gloria Swanson, she bemoaned, “But I have more pressing problems [than being fashionably late], as you can see! Here I am in a supposedly grade-one hotel suite, and look for yourself! The ignominy of it all! No full-length mirror! No chandelier! Must I rough it? Must I?” Bawden’s interview relentlessly zooms Swanson’s close up in by touching on everything from her less-than-rewarding criticism of Kathrine Hepburn in Coco to her obsessive bean sprout diet.
James Bawden and Ron Miller have spent more than fifty years interviewing stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood’s Golden Era collects many of these in a rich and enlightening archive about our favorite Golden Era stars. These interviews expand and enhance what was published at their respective newspapers with exclusive interview material. Bawden and Miller paint a picture of these illustrious stars’ careers while offering rare insights into their life and personalities.
Since the studios directed the Golden Age, interviews and cover stories about the glamorous stars have always been perfectly scripted, until Bawden and Miller put the spot light on the actors’ true words and not the force-fed words their studios wanted them to say. Strikingly real, some of the words these famous film stars had for their peers and costars are, in the words of popular columnist Liz Smith, “scintillating gossip and outright, downright dishing.” Douglas Fairbanks Jr., for instance, admits that his first wife, Joan Crawford, “hated every minute” of their honeymoon in Europe. Well, every minute except those few, precious moments at the local MGM distribution office “where she could do some publicity.”
Featuring interviews from some of the most famous leading men and women of the era like Kirk Douglas, Joseph Cotton, Jackie Coogan, Joan Fontaine, among many others, Bawden and Miller bring the silver screen out of the Golden Era and onto the page. Conversations offers a new look at our favorite Golden Era stars through the eyes of our favorite Golden Era stars.