Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood

GoodKnight. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781735273815. $26.95. FILM
Leonard Maltin, the doyen of contemporary film fanatics, would have you believe that his remarkable 60-year career as a movie critic, author, television personality, and university academic is the result of fortuitous timing and chance. Not so. While serendipitous luck and being in the proverbial right place at the right time were certainly helpful, it was Maltin’s unfettered energy, enthusiasm, and passion for film, as well as a lot of chutzpah, that compelled him as a teenager in New York City in the 1960s to seek out and interview Buster Keaton, Rube Goldberg, Hans Conried, and Celeste Holm; begin writing for film fanzines at 13; and take over the publication of Film Fan Monthly at 15. His memoir is a delightful collection of relatively short and breezy chapters indulging some of his favorite stars (Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerry Lewis, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Gloria Stuart, Harlan Ellison) and subjects (such as jazz). Woven throughout are anecdotal recollections from Maltin’s 30-year stint on Entertainment Tonight; his publishing the best-selling Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide; and his more than 20-year tenure teaching film history at the University of Southern California.
VERDICT Looking for TMZ trash talk on the stars? Look elsewhere. This is strictly G-rated and great fun.
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