There’s a short review of The Fame Formula in the Financial Times on 23rd January. Stephen Cave also discusses Fame by Mark Rowlands and The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption by Daniel Herwitz.
“It’s these myths [of the iconic early Hollywood stars] that are exploded by Mark Borkowski in his jolly romp The Fame Formula: How Hollywood’s Fixers, Fakers and Star Makers Created the Celebrity Industry.” writes Cave. “His book celebrates the publicists – the myth-makers who turned Hollywood’s patchy raw material into household names. Running his own PR firm, Borkowski has an insider’s eye, and his book is full of revelatory detail.
“Some stunts he describes have already passed into legend: Fox studios insured Betty Grable’s legs for $1m in 1943, while the three-year hunt for the girl to play Scarlett O’Hara in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind was “arguably the most influential publicity campaign of all time”. Borkowski particularly revels in the antics of maverick publicity agent Jim Moran, who led a real bull through a real china shop to promote a musician’s flagging career, and had to be stopped from using dwarfs on kites to fly ad banners over New York’s Central Park.”
To read the full review, click here.