Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936

Mary Astor's Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 Author Edward Sorel
ISBN-10 1631490230
ISBN-13 9781631490231
Year 2016-10-04
Pages 176
Language English
Publisher Liveright
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In a hilarious send up of sex scandal and the Golden Age of Hollywood legendary cartoonist Edward Sorel brings us a story literally ripped from the headlines of a bygone era In 1965 a young up and coming illustrator by the name of Edward Sorel was living in a 97 a month railroad flat on Manhattans Upper East Side Resolved to fix up the place Sorel began pulling up the linoleum on his kitchen floor tearing away layer after layer until he discovered a hidden treasure issues of the New York Daily News and Daily Mirror from 1936 each ablaze with a scandalous child custody trial taking place in Hollywood and starring the actress Mary Astor Sorel forgot about his kitchen and lost himself in the story that had pushed Hitler and Franco off the front pages At the time of the trial Mary Astor was still only a supporting player in movies but enough of a star to make headlines when it came out that GeorgeS Kaufman then the most successful playwright on Broadway and a married man to boot had been her lover The scandal revolved around Marys diary which her ex husband Dr Franklyn Thorpe had found when they were still together Its incriminating contents had forced Mary to give up custody of their daughter in order to obtain a divorce By 1936 she had decided to challenge the arrangement even though Thorpe planned to use the diary to prove she was an unfit mother Mary he claimed had not only kept a tally of all her extramarital affairs but graded themand hed already alerted the press Enraptured by this sensational case and the actress at the heart of it Sorel began a life long obsession that now reaches its apex Featuring over sixty original illustrations Mary Astor s Purple Diary narrates and illustrates the travails of the Oscar winning actress alongside Sorels own personal story of discovering an unlikely muse Throughout we get his wry take on all the juicy details of this particular slice of Hollywood Babylon including Mary s life as a child starher career in silent films began at age fourteenpresided over by her tyrannical father Otto who managed her full time and treated his daughter like an ATM machine Sorel also animates her teenage love affair with probably the biggest star of the silent era the much older John Barrymore who seduced her on the set of a movie and convinced her parents to allow her to be alone with him for private acting lessons Sorel imbues Mary Astor s life with the kind of wit and eye for character that his art is famous for but here he also emerges as a writer creating a compassionate character study of Astor a woman who ultimately achieved a life of independence after spending so much of it bullied by others Featuring ribald and rapturous art throughout Mary Astor s Purple Diary is a passion project that becomes the masterpiece of one of Americas greatest illustrators 75 color illustrations

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