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Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years

by James Bawden and Ron Miller

Availablecloth$36.95 978-0-8131-7764-9
Screen Classics
360 pages  Pubdate: 08/13/2019  6 x 9  52 b&w photos

During television’s first fifty years—long before cable networks, Hulu, Netflix, and the like—families would gather around their television sets nightly to watch entertaining shows such as I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, M*A*S*H, The Beverly Hillbillies, Fantasy Island, and The Rockford Files. Many of the stars of these beloved shows have passed away, but their presence remains intact—not only through their television show performances, which are still viewed and appreciated today, but also through stories they told in interviews over the years.

Seasoned journalists and authors James Bawden and Ron Miller have captured provocative and entertaining interviews with important figures from TV’s first fifty years. These thirty-nine interviews, selected from conversations conducted from 1971–1998, present a fascinating glimpse of some of television’s most influential performers. Featured are exclusive interviews with major stars (including Donna Reed, James Garner, and Ricardo Montalban), icons of comedy (including Lucille Ball, George Burns, and Milton Berle), TV hosts (including Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan), and notable musical entertainers (such as Glen Campbell, Mary Martin, and Lawrence Welk). Each chapter of this volume explores the subject’s television work—with detailed behind-the-scenes disclosures—and includes additional information about the subject’s performances in film and on stage.

James Bawden, former TV columnist for the Toronto Star, is renowned for his distinguished profiles of movie stars and directors. He has written for Films in Review and numerous cinema magazines. He is coauthor of Conversations with Classic Film Stars: Interviews from Hollywood’s Golden Era and You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet: Interviews with Stars from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Make room on your bookshelf for Bawden and Miller’s latest release, Conversations with Legendary Television Stars. They’ve brought back the lost art of conversation, and their style creates an intimate setting, like having a chat with a famous actor or actress over dinner or drinks. Dirt is kicked up and fun, informative, and surprising nuggets are exposed -- Robert Crane, coauthor of Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father's Unsolved Murder

Conversations with Legendary Television Stars includes interviews based on Q&A sessions Bawden and Miller undertook with an impressive array of stars and leading character players from US television and films over the years. The coauthors’ professionalism as reporters and experience with the interviewing process make this an engaging, informative, and fascinating sequel to their other works. -- James Robert Parish, author of Hollywood Divas: The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous

Readers can turn to any page of this treasure chest of recollections and find insightful, often humorous, and always fascinating remembrances by some of the greatest names in entertainment history. Bawden and Miller have expertly crafted a collage of the industry’s most vital voices as they reminisce about their lengthy television careers, as well as their adventures in film, on radio, and onstage. This work is an essential tome for entertainment historians and casual film and television buffs, offering a vibrant portrait of a bygone era and a keen reminder of the wild changes in public tastes and entertainment styles during the twentieth century. That latter fact is best summarized herein by actor Ricardo Montalban, who wistfully reflects: "We don’t dream like we used to dream." -- Brent Phillips, author of Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance