The Golden Age of Hollywood, between the 1910s and 1960s, was a period when Hollywood experienced an influx of experimental film making. These were revolutionary years, filled with exceptional talent, new camera technology and more freedom for script writers.
Today, we’ve curated a list of books we think you would enjoy based around who your favorite actor was back in the day. Put on your most fabulous (but comfy!) bed jacket, fix yourself a Tom Collins, and cozy up to one of these reads that’ll take you back to a glamorous time…
Though Hepburn was born in Hartford, she and her family spent much of their time at the family estate in Old Saybrook, CT beginning in 1912. When the house was destroyed by the hurricane of 1938, she and her brother collected her mother’s 85 piece silver set from the sand and began to rebuild. In Old Saybrook, she was just a neighbor, Kate. She retired there in 1997 and a museum in her name stands in the town today. To learn more about her hometown, we recommend the titles below. You can find these books here and here!
Eldred Gregory Peck was born in La Jolla, CA in 1916 and attended San Diego High and later the University of California at Berkeley where he became interested in acting. Peck’s father was La Jolla’s first pharmacist. Peck returned to La Jolla often during his life and co-founded La Jolla Playhouse in 1947. To learn more about where he grew up, we recommend these titles below. You can find these books here and here!
Before she was an icon of film noir (and Bogie’s), Lauren Bacall grew up Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx and later moved to Manhattan where she was crowned Miss Greenwich Village in 1942. A 53 year resident of the famous Dakota Building on the Upper West Side, she spent free time walking her dog in Central Park whenever she got the chance. To read more about her New York neighborhood, we recommend checking out these titles below. You can find these books here and here!
Born in Winnetka, IL in 1925, Roy Herald Scherer, Jr. attended New Trier High. After enlisting in the Navy in 1943, he was sent to boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago. When he was discharged in 1946, he moved to LA where he started his acting career and became Rock Hudson, one of the most popular movie stars and heartthrobs of all time. Find out more about his hometown with these books below. You can find them here and here!
Two-time academy award-winning actor, Spencer Tracy began his life in Milwaukee, WI. Raised Catholic, he attended St. Rosa’s Parochial School, Marquette Academy, Northwestern Military Academy (Lake Geneva), and Ripon College. He won one of those two Oscars for playing Father Flanagan in Boys Town (1939). Read more about where he grew up with these titles below. You can find these books here and here!
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Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
It’s no secret that there was drama between two of the most famous actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The climax of the Davis/Crawford decades’ long feud is demonstrated in the 1962 film, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The plot goes something like…
Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) is an aging child star left to care for her wheelchair-bound sister Blanche (Joan Crawford), also a former child actress. Stuck living together in a mansion in old Hollywood, Blanche plots to get even with Jane for the car crash that left her crippled years earlier…
Certain violent scenes made the audience question how much of the on-screen drama was actually real and gave this low budget film (at a time when the careers of these two legends were on the decline) a huge publicity boost. Davis earned an Oscar for her portrayal as Baby Jane Hudson and Crawford, determined to upstage Davis, made sure that she secured a spot on stage by accepting Anne Bancroft’s award in her absence.
The setting of the Hudson household was in an old Hollywood mansion (much like the ones in Homes of the Hollywood Stars). Want to learn more about where they grew up? Read these titles below! You can find these books here, here, and here!