Hollywood has long been the city for drama on the silver screen - so it's no surprise that some of that drama spilled off-screen and into the lives of its stars. And after living the high life, what's a star to do when the limelight is gone? Write a best-selling memoir spilling stories about their exes, friends, and coworkers, of course.
From Old Hollywood icons to nostalgic ‘90s names, we couldn’t help but eat up these autobiographies, jam-packed with stories and bombshells about some of the most famous figures in the world. Whether dark, heartbreaking, or hilarious, these celebs weren't afraid to put pen to paper and name names - and it paid off.
Because, hey, who isn't willing to look past a few poorly structured sentences and a little self-indulgence to hear about malicious farting and Tom Cruise hide-and-seek?
- Photo: Star Wars: A New Hope / 20th Century Fox1631 VOTES
The on-screen chemistry between Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia and Harrison Ford's Han Solo had long caused many Star Wars fans to wonder about an off-screen romance between the leads. But it wasn't until 2016 that Carrie Fisher revealed a romantic relationship had in fact occurred between the two, while filming 1977's A New Hope.
Known for her bold and brash humor, Fisher had already penned several autobiographical books before releasing The Princess Diarist, which dropped the Ford bombshell. Fisher said she was inspired to write about the relationship after rediscovering her old diaries from the time.
Fisher, who was 19 during filming, recalled the then-married Ford, 34, initiating things in the backseat of a car after a party. Calling it a “summer romance without the romance," Fisher described her ensuing obsession with Ford, a man of few reported words, wanting him to fall in love with her and leave his wife:
I could charm the birds out of everyone’s trees but his… I couldn’t talk to Harrison. Basically about anything, but especially about the entity that was “us” - not that there actually was such a thing. Not only couldn’t I converse with Harrison, but given that my weekends with Harrison were a secret, it became something that was better left unsaid... I felt that I couldn’t confide in anyone else what was happening with Harrison, because Harrison was married. And not to me.
When questioned whether it was strange for him when Fisher went public with the affair, Ford responded in typically verbose fashion, “It was strange. For me.”
After the passing of her husband, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall found herself leaning on Frank Sinatra, a longtime friend who began to heavily woo her. The two soon began a relationship, which Bacall said was marred by her own vulnerability after Bogart's passing. Sinatra was capricious in his affections, and she described him as "adoring one day, remote the next."
Sinatra and Bacall's relationship came to an end not long after he asked her to marry him. According to Bacall's memoir, By Myself and Then Some, when a friend leaked news of the engagement to the press, Sinatra blamed Bacall. He suggested they take some time apart in a phone call and then ghosted her. Bacall described running into him at a dinner not long after:
We had one person between us at dinner, but Frank didn’t acknowledge my existence. He did not speak one word to me - if he looked in my direction, he did not see me, he looked right past me, as though my chair were empty. I was so humiliated, so embarrassed. Nothing would bring my sense of humor back - it deserted me that night and for some time afterward. I would have preferred him to spit in my face, at least that would have been recognition...
No one just drops someone without discussion. It was such a shock, that cold slap in the face in front of everyone.
Still, Bacall admits Sinatra did her a favor in the long run, writing:
Actually, Frank did me a great favor - he saved me from the disaster our marriage would have been. The truth is he was probably smarter than I: he knew it couldn’t work. But the truth also is that he behaved like a complete sh*t. He was too cowardly to tell the truth - that it was just too much for him, that he’d found he couldn’t handle it.
In his 2014 memoir Love Life, Lowe described meeting his idol, Hollywood legend Warren Beatty, as an 18-year-old. Lowe wrote that he had been dating a "young, successful actress" who was friends with Beatty and spent a lot of time at his house, though he doesn't name her. One night he accompanied his girlfriend to Beatty's house to watch a movie.
According to Lowe, Beatty told Lowe that he reminded him of himself at a similar age. Beatty then remarked that Lowe's girlfriend reminded him of his own former girlfriend Natalie Wood:
"It’s funny," [Beatty] continued. "Natalie was always getting asked by Frank Sinatra to come up to his house and lay by the pool. I never paid much attention to it, but years later, just a few years before Natalie died, I asked her, "Hey, we’re both adults now, what exactly were you doing all those days at Sinatra’s?"
"And she looked me right in the eyes and said, 'Oh Warren, what do you think we were doing? We were f***ing!'
"Isn’t that funny?" He smiled at me, shaking his head at the memory.
I looked over at my girlfriend who looked away, ashen-faced. And the penny dropped.
Thanks for the heads up, Warren Beatty. You’re my hero to this day.
- Photo: Terms of Endearment / Paramount Pictures
Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger (who played mother and daughter in the 1983 film Terms of Endearment) have admitted over the years that there isn't much love lost between them. But MacLaine seemed to fan the flames further when writing about Winger in her book, My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir:
The first day Debra and I worked together in front of the camera, the assistant called us to get our marks. She got to hers first. ”Hey Mom," she ordered, “hey, get over here”…
The first day in front of the camera is one of jockeying, of establishing boundaries, of assessing your fellow actors as well as letting the crew know that regardless of how brilliant you might be, you realize it means nothing if you're not in your light and you don't know where the camera is…
“You're over here,” Debra said. The crew stopped talking. They could sense a stakeout… “I heard you,” I said. “I know marks when I see them.” “Good,” she said. “How's this for a mark?” She turned around, walked away from me, lifted her skirt slightly, looked over her shoulder, bent over, and farted in my face.
When asked by Andy Cohen about the gas pass incident, as well as the rumor that she licked MacLaine's leg during a love scene with Jack Nicholson, Winger allowed there was “something true” in the stories.
- Photo: The King of Queens / CBS
Tom Cruise is a well-known Scientologist. Leah Remini used to be a member, but - depending on who tells the story - either left or was expelled from the fold. In her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, the King of Queens actress wrote about going to a party at Cruise's home where he reportedly wanted to play hide-and-seek on his property with her and other party guests:
At first I thought he was joking, but no, he literally wanted to play hide-and-seek with a bunch of grown-ups in what was probably close to a 7,000-square-foot house on almost three full acres of secluded land.
“I can’t play - I’m wearing Jimmy Choos,” I said.
“Well, good,” Tom said with his signature grin. “So you’re It, then.” And with that he tagged me and ran to hide.
“Huh?” I pulled my husband aside and in a quiet voice whispered, “Uh, Angelo, you’re going to go ahead and do this, because I’m not doing it. I’m not trying to play a f*cking game of hide-and-seek in five-inch stilettos. Okay?”
It's unclear whether Remini was able to get out of playing, but she did say that people “didn’t just say no to ‘Mr. Cruise’ even when it came to little things.”
The feud between Old Hollywood actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford was one for the ages - the women publicly slammed each other over the years before starring together in the hit film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Despite its smash success, Davis describes in her memoir This 'N That the walls they hit in making the film:
In 1962, Joan and I were not considered box-office. We were not bankable. “Recast it,” [director Robert] Aldrich was told, “get some box-office names, and we'll give you whatever you want. But we won't give you a dime for those ‘two old broads.’”
Even Warner Bros., my studio for years, turned him down – a decision that lost them a fortune. Nearly a year later, after the picture had recovered its costs in one weekend, I was a guest on the Tonight Show. A sympathetic Jack Paar listened to my account of how Aldrich had struggled to raise the money. The studio audience howled when I repeated, with undisguised glee, how the moguls would not invest in those “two old broads.” In due time, I received a letter from Joan, telling me never to refer to her as an old broad again.
Of making the film with her nemesis, Davis later said in an interview, “The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”
However, in This 'N That, Davis also claims there were only two actresses she ever truly despised, Crawford not among them:
In all my years as an actress, I have only criticized two actresses with whom I have worked… The first is Miriam Hopkins and the second is Faye Dunaway, whose name is most appropriate. Several times I wished I could have “Dun-away” with her. Any race for witchery featuring Miss Hopkins and Miss Dunaway would most definitely end up in a tie.
Davis elaborated that Hopkins was constantly trying to upstage her while Dunaway was “impossible” as she was always late and didn't know her lines.
Davis also saved some words for her male peers. In her memoir The Lonely Life, Davis spoke of what she called Hollywood “glamour boys”: “The masculine ego, outsized at birth, takes on gargantuan proportions in the actor…”
Of President Reagan, she wrote in This 'N That,
In light of today’s witch hunts, when all political figures are targets, it is amazing that President Reagan… does not have something in his past to be revealed. It must mean that he was as dull as his first wife, Jane Wyman, said he was.