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Actor John Carlyle got his big break in 1954. New to Hollywood, the twenty-three-year-old Carlyle was cast as the assistant director of the movie-within-a movie in George Cukor’s A Star is Born. Although Carlyle’s scene was later cut from the film — and his star status subsequently never materialized — the job brought him in touch with Judy Garland, who up until her death fifteen years later was Carlyle’s friend and sometime lover.
Under the Rainbow: tells the story of this rocky but beloved relationship. No longer the great star who first enthralled Carlyle as an adolescent, Garland — like many former headliners in the 1960s — lived an often desperate, hand-to-mouth existence that was eased only by pills and liquor. She turned to Carlyle for support, even with the hope of marrying the openly gay actor. He politely declined the opportunity of matrimony, but remained constant in his adoration of the star for the rest of his life.
The author takes us on a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of gay Hollywood, with an intimate, often hilarious, star-studded memoir of the decline and end of old Hollywood.
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John Carlyle acted in dozens of plays, movies, and television roles. A Baltimore native, he lived in Los Angeles for fifty years. Under the Rainbow is his first book. Robert Osborne is the prime time host and anchor of Turner Classic Movies cable television network. He is also a columnist and critic with The Hollywood Reporter. He lives in Los Angeles.From Publishers Weekly:
During his acting career of small roles in the 1950s, Carlyle became acquainted with successful performers like Judy Garland and Joan Fontaine (to whom he wrote many letters before she agreed to see him). But he had a special obsession with Garland. "I was like a dog with a bone to become a part of Judy's life." While playing a small part in A Star Is Born, he offered Garland her favorite brand of cigarette, Spud. That brief introduction eventually gained him entrance to her inner circle, and this starry-eyed book reveals his intimacy with Garland during the late 1960s, the declining, drug-fueled period of her life. Unfortunately, any hint of Hollywood debauchery is preceded by a tedious account of his childhood. The narrative is bogged down with details of every acquaintance, roommate and neighbor he encountered. A gay man's life during a homophobic era, coupled with his sycophantic experiences of stardom, might have been interesting in the right hands; instead, the spotlight is on his failed relationships and petty quarrels. Unfortunately, there is little here to attract even the most dedicated film historian. (Oct.)
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