Hardback
November 29, 2022
9780813196503
English
448
64 b&w illustrations
9.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 29, 2022
9780813196510
9780813196503
English
448
64 b&w illustrations
9.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 29, 2022
9780813196527
9780813196503
English
448
64 b&w illustrations
9.25 Inches (US)
6.13 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £21.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Lawrence Tierney

Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy

Lawrence Tierney (1919–2002) was the kind of actor whose natural swagger and gruff disposition made him the perfect fit for the Hollywood "tough guy" archetype. Known for his erratic and oftentimes violent nature, Tierney drew upon his bellicose reputation throughout his career—a reputation that made him one of the most feared and mythologized characters in the industry.

Born in Brooklyn to Irish American parents, Tierney worked in theater productions in New York before moving to Hollywood, where he signed with RKO Radio Pictures in 1943. His biggest roles would come in Dillinger (1945), in which he played 1930s gangster and bank robber John Dillinger, and Robert Wise's film noir classic Born to Kill (1947).

Despite his natural talents, Tierney was trouble from the start, struggling with alcoholism and mental instability that emboldened him to start fights whenever and wherever he could. The continued bouts of alcohol-fueled rage, his subsequent stints in jail, and his continued attempts at rehabilitation curtailed his acting career. Unable to find work throughout much of the 1960s, he did a stint in Europe before eventually returning to New York, where he took odd jobs as a construction worker, bartender, and hansom cab driver.

In the mid-1980s Tierney returned to acting. With a somewhat cooler head, he established himself again with recurring roles in shows such as Seinfeld and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would take on his final projects as a septuagenarian in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Armageddon (1998), where his on-set behavior would once again draw the ire of his colleagues and studio representatives. He would go down swinging just shy of his eighty-third birthday, his tough-guy image solidly intact until the end.

In Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy, author Burt Kearns traces Tierney's storied life from his days as Dillinger, to his clash with Quentin Tarantino at the end of his film career, to his final public appearances. The first official biography of the late actor, the book draws on the writings of Hollywood reporters and gossip columnists who first reported on Tierney's antics, and exclusive interviews with surviving colleagues, friends, family members—and victims. Through their words and his research, Kearns paints a portrait of Tierney's brutish behavior and the industry's reaction to the pugnacious star, drawing parallels—and the line—between the man and the characters that made him a Hollywood legend.

About the Author

Burt Kearns is an author and writer who produces and directs nonfiction television and documentary films. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, he wrote the exposé memoir about his life in television, Tabloid Baby. He also cowrote the book, The Show Won't Go On: The Most Shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage.

Reviews

"Lawrence Tierney's life reflects the axiom that truth is stranger than fiction, yet inexplicably, no biographer had ever tackled the actor's decades of accomplishments and mistakes until now. With this impeccably researched work, Burt Kearns has proved himself more than capable of capturing his deeply flawed yet enormously talented and complicated subject. You'll turn the pages at a breakneck pace, wondering what scrape Tierney will get into next, only to race toward a powerful, unexpectedly poignant conclusion."—Dr. Jason A. Ney, Professor of Literature and Film, Noir City magazine Staff Writer

"Lawrence Tierney is not only a look into the life of the extraordinary real-life tough guy actor, but a ringside seat to the Hollywood studio system from the 1940s right up until his death in 2002. Buckle up, boys. It's going to be a bumpy ride..."—Danno Hanks, legendary Hollywood private eye

"Lawrence Tierney was intelligent, handsome, and an excellent actor: he was also a human hand grenade. This is a fast-moving and fascinating portrait of a talented, sad, wildly self-destructive actor who made Errol Flynn and John Barrymore look like choir boys."—Eve Golden, author of Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn't Help It

"There is finally a 'soup to nuts' biography of actor Lawrence Tierney who justifiably earned his reputation as Tinseltown's most combustible hellion. Although the actor's infamous temperament overshadowed his considerable talent, Burt Kearns' captivating book reveals there was a lot more to Larry Tierney than his police blotter and recycled Hollywood anecdotes."—Alan K. Rode, author of Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film

9780813196503 : lawrence-tierney-kearns
Hardback
November 29, 2022
$29.95 USD
9780813196510 : lawrence-tierney-kearns
Electronic book text
November 29, 2022
$29.95 USD
9780813196527 : lawrence-tierney-kearns
Electronic book text
November 29, 2022
$29.95 USD

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