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New Constellations

Movie Stars of the 1960s

Edited and with an introduction by Pamela Robertson Wojcik

Publication Year: 2012

American culture changed radically over the course of the 1960s, and the culture of Hollywood was no exception. The film industry began the decade confidently churning out epic spectacles and lavish musicals, but became flummoxed as new aesthetics and modes of production emerged, and low-budget youth pictures like Easy Rider became commercial hits.

New Constellations: Movie Stars of the 1960s tells the story of the final glory days of the studio system and changing conceptions of stardom, considering such Hollywood icons as Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman alongside such hallmarks of youth culture as Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman. Others, like Sidney Poitier and Peter Sellers, took advantage of the developing independent and international film markets to craft truly groundbreaking screen personae. And some were simply “famous for being famous,” with celebrities like Zsa Zsa Gabor and Edie Sedgwick paving the way for today’s reality stars.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Star Decades: American Culture/American

Title Series Information

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pp. ii

Title Page

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pp. iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv


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pp. v

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pp. vii

I wish to thank the Star Decades editors, Murray Pomerance and Adrienne L. McLean, for initiating and shaping the series, and also, along with Leslie Mitchner at Rutgers University Press, for their guidance and patience with this volume. Thanks as well are due all the contributors for sharing...

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Introduction. Stardom in the 1960s

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pp. 1-13

Conventional (and often nostalgic) views of the American sixties tend to portray the decade as one of unique change, a decade in which ideologies, morality, culture, and politics were all upended and radically transformed. In line with this view, the decade is sometimes characterized through a series of displacements in which the Man in the Grey Flannel...

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Chapter 1. Paul Newman: Superstardom and Anti-Stardom

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pp. 14-33

In a 1970 Los Angeles Times article entitled “How to Be a Cool Hand Imitating Paul Newman,” Joseph P. Devlin dispensed advice on “how to be: (a) cool, (b) a red-blooded-American boy, (c) win friends, and (d) influence women by imitating Paul Newman.” Devlin advised that to be as admirable as Newman, one should draw from his example the following...

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Chapter 2. Elizabeth Taylor: The Biggest Star in the World

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pp. 34-54

During the 1960s Elizabeth Taylor was one of the top box office attractions in the world, became the highest-paid female star, and won two Oscars. She was also involved in two major scandals with married men and began to garner bad press (and negative public opinion) for being “out of control” in various ways: sexual voracity, weight gains, constant illnesses...

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Chapter 3. Dustin Hoffman: As Artistic as Possible

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pp. 55-70

For its first forty-six years, Time, America’s newsweekly of record, invariably presented cover illustrations of important people or events. The very first Time cover photograph, dated 7 February 1969, featured not a world leader, astronaut, or international conflict, but Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow...

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Chapter 4. Steve McQueen: Cool, Combative, and Disconnected

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pp. 71-90

Steve McQueen was cool. Few star images crystallize around just one word, but his certainly does. What’s more, he was “the King of Cool.” The first entry for the phrase in the online Urban Dictionary reads: “Nickname for actor Steve McQueen. No one has ever owned the screen like Steve McQueen. He was the King of Cool”...

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Chapter 5. Mia Farrow: Categorically Intangible

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pp. 91-114

Amid the intoxication of metamorphosis, the magnetizing struggles of cultural transformation that constituted the 1960s, Mia Farrow emerged as an icon of mutability, a resonant emblem of the intangible. Transliterated into the mass-circulated domains of celebrity profiles, gossip columns, interviews, fashion shoots, and reviews, her image was...

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Chapter 6. Peter Sellers: A Figure of Impasse

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pp. 115-138

Peter Sellers (1925–1980) worked as a performer his entire life. As a child he appeared in variety show bits produced by the touring company his grandmother had established in England before World War I. As a teenager, he played with dance bands, sometimes touring with his father, and he worked backstage and onstage at music halls. ...

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Chapter 7. Julie Andrews: Practically Too Perfect in Every Way

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pp. 139-159

As a phenomenon of movies and culture, Julie Andrews’s career in the 1960s has gone mostly unexamined. She was a rarity to start with: a postwar Broadway musical comedy star without the stagy eccentricities that kept divas such as Mary Martin, Gwen Verdon, Ethel Merman, and Carol Channing from ever becoming film stars. ...

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Chapter 8. Signey Poitier: It Is No Great Joy to Be a Symbol

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pp. 160-182

By the end of the 1960s, Sidney Poitier—the second African American to be nominated for a major acting Academy Award (1959); the first African American to win a Best Actor Oscar (1964); the first African American to be ranked the top U.S. box office draw (1967); in short, the first black movie star—had become an icon. But he was an icon given...

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Chapter 9. Brigitte Bardot: From International Star to Fashion Icon

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pp. 183-201

Beginning in the mid-1950s, Brigitte Bardot exerted an enormous impact on film, fashion, and celebrity culture, introducing a youthful, sexy image of French femininity to both domestic and inter national audiences. Among film historians, she is primarily remembered today for two films, Et Dieu . . . créa la femme [And God Created Woman] (1956)...

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Chapter 10. Edie Sedgwick: Girl of the Year

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pp. 202-223

At the time of Nora Ephron’s September 1965 profile, Edie Sedgwick was known to New York Post readers primarily as the party-hopping, outlandishly clothed, oft-photographed companion of Pop artist and experimental moviemaker Andy Warhol. When their paths crossed for the first time Warhol was already arguably the most infamous avant-gardist...

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Chapter 11. Eva and Zsa Zsa Gabor: Hungary Meets Hillbilly U.S.A.

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pp. 224-249

When Eva Gabor died at seventy-four, the New York Times eulogized her as being “best known for her role as an out-of-place city socialite stuck on a farm on television’s ‘Green Acres’ in the 1960s,” but opined that she “probably achieved as much celebrity from being one of the three Gabor sisters as she did from her acting.” ...

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In the Wings

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pp. 250-254

By discussing stars according to decade, this series enables us to see trends in Hollywood, and to capture aspects of the zeitgeist through analyses of star images. In this volume, we can see changing aesthetics, changing mores, and changing industry practices working together to alter and expand the concept of the star. ...

Works Cited

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pp. 255-262


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pp. 263-264


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pp. 265-274

E-ISBN-13: 9780813552293
E-ISBN-10: 081355229X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813551715

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 46 photographs
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Star Decades: American Culture/American