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Beatty Bio Unauthorized?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 4, 2010 at 1:07AM

I'm reading (and enjoying) Peter Biskind's long-awaited Warren Beatty bio, Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America.
Thompson on Hollywood

I'm reading (and enjoying) Peter Biskind's long-awaited Warren Beatty bio, Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America.

The fact that the controlling and prevaricating star cooperated with Biskind at all--Beatty is quoted liberally throughout the book--is a testament to both the writer's close relationship with him and an extraordinary amount of patience. Biskind warned Beatty that he was going to write what he wanted to write. And the Vanity Fair writer, whose very gossipy first book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls sold more copies than his second, Down and Dirty Pictures, knows how to write a good lede. Star's first chapter takes off with Beatty screwing older woman Joan Collins six or seven times a day: "Maybe he did, but I just lay there," Collins said. UPDATE: The New York Post predictably focuses on Beatty's sexual conduct.

In his candid introduction, Biskind explains that he figures that Beatty went along as much as he did (withholding all the way) because he was hoping that his book would drive away several others in the works. But Ellis Amburn's mass-market paperback came and went in 2002, and Suzanne Finstad published her meaty biography, Warren Beatty: A Private Man, in 2005.

Beatty works in mysterious ways. What better way to grab attention for Biskind's book than to have famed attorney Bert Fields release a statement to the Huffington Post, denying that Biskind's book was authorized:

"Mr. Biskind's tedious and boring book on Mr. Beatty was not authorized by Mr. Beatty and should not be published as an authorized biography. It contains many false assertions and purportedly quotes Mr. Beatty as saying things he never said. Other media should not repeat things from the book on the assumption that they are true or that the book is an authorized biography."

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.