No one is going to accuse Laurents, author of such noted plays and films as Home of the Brave, Rope, West Side Story and The Way We Were, of writing a sentimental, evasive or mindlessly feel-good autobiography. In a jaunty, engrossing style, the 82-year-old discusses the highlights of his 60-year career as a writer, director and producer, the ins and outs of his love life, long-term psychoanalysis and friendships with almost everyone in Hollywood and on Broadway. Laurents is brutally honest about his personal life--his difficulty coming to terms with his gayness, his anger at colleagues like Elia Kazan who named names to HUAC and his even greater anger at himself for working with them--and he rarely holds back when he thinks that others deserve criticism. He can be surprisingly harsh--he attacks Hannah Arendt for being a "self-hating Jew" and for defending Eichmann--but his critical asides often reveal a new side of a public person and are never simply catty. For example, he tells of Katharine Hepburn making antigay remarks at a dinner party; Richard Rodgers's severe alcoholism in his later career; and George Cukor's calculated "rise above being an unattractive Jewish queer by becoming an elegant silver-and-china queen and a Republican." But for all his candor, Laurents comes across as a highly intelligent, loving, politically involved, generous and gracious man--as evidenced by his commitment to social justice, his artistic vision and his long-term relationships with Farley Granger and with Tom Hatcher, who has been his life partner since 1955.
Publisher: Applause Books