Primetime TV Book Review: “Conversations with Legendary Television Stars”

Book Review!

Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years (Screen Classics) book cover

“Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years” by James Bawden and Ronald G. Miller Review by Suzanne 7/23/20

This is a very enjoyable book for any fan of classic TV and movies. These two journalists (fans themselves) have interviewed 39 stars from TV of the 50’s and 60’s, over many years, and put them in this book form.  As someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s (and watched many re-runs), I loved to read it. The stars don’t hold back, either, about themselves or others in show business. There is a lot of juicy gossip.

For instance, I knew MacDonald Carey (Tom Horton of “Days of Our Lives“) was an alcoholic, but I had no idea that Bea Arthur and Deanna Durbin both were, too. I also had no idea that Gregory Peck was bothered by the fact that Audrey Hepburn got more attention for her role in “Roman Holiday” than he did. There are many, many of these types of tidbits included in the book.

The only thing I would complain about is that there aren’t more stars and more photos (in color).  Yes, all the photos are in black-and-white — just like TV back then.

This is the third book by these two authors! Check them all out on Amazon.  Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years     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)


Conversations with Legendary Television Stars: Interviews from the First Fifty Years
James Bawden and Ron Miller

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.

Praise for Conversations with Legendary Television Stars

“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 and My Life as a Mankiewicz

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.”—Brent Phillips, author of Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Dick Clark photo in book

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