Celebrity Picks: Bruce Campbell's Favorite Recent Reads

Adrian Liang on August 15, 2017

Bruce CampbellYou might know Bruce Campbell from the films or TV shows Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Burn Notice, or (one of my personal favorites) Bubba Ho-Tep. But you almost certainly know Bruce Campbell.

Campbell has embraced his status as a B actor in sometimes questionable films with a panache that only makes you love him more. The author of Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way and If Chins Could Kill, Campbell regales fans with his delightfully wonky true life stories in his newest book, Hail to the Chin.

Here are Campbell's most recent favorite reads, in his own words:



As an actor, I make my living in the world of make-believe—but as a reader, the books I gravitate toward are nonfiction…mostly about the world of make-believe. Sounds silly, but I have learned a lot about my own business by reading first-person narratives from entertainers who plied their trade long before me. The current literary theme seems to be “the fall of Hollywood,” as each of my three recent reads all deal with the subject indirectly:

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Judy and I by Sid Luft — Sid was a salesman at his core—some would say hustler—who became a concert promoter, then movie producer and eventually husband to Judy Garland for ten years near the end of her life. Sid offers up a businessman’s point of view about the crazy ways now-famous movies were financed, filmed and sometimes ruined. The book is also a fascinating character study of a very complicated Judy Garland, who was going through a career slowdown amid substance abuse and the dismantling of the major studios.

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Pieces of My Heart by Robert J. Wagner — Robert Wagner always played a dashing, not unlikeable cad. His acting career began late in the studio system at a very young age and he befriended many of the Hollywood elite old-timers who shared valuable career advice along the way. He also managed to bed an impressive list of movie stars, including a much older Barbara Stanwyck. Eventually, Robert settled into television and enjoyed several long runs ( Hart to Hart among them). As an actor, I never found Robert Wagner particularly incendiary and yet his life was full of dramatic twists and turns—not all happy. The loss of his wife, actress Natalie Wood, during questionable circumstances would haunt him for the rest of his life. A fun bit of trivia: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood owned a major piece of the Charlie’s Angels TV show.

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The Garner Files by James Garner and Jon Winokur — I loved James Garner as an actor, because he always had a twinkle in his eye. Humor was present in practically everything he did. What’s so amazing is that you’d never know he survived one of the most hellish battles of Korea before he ever stood in front of a camera. Because of his horrific war experiences, James vowed to portray characters that didn’t always resort to violence. The impressive run of The Rockford Files was a great example of this. His character, a private eye, never carried a gun. I also have great respect for James Garner as a person because he sued two different major studios out of principle and won both times—extremely rare in show biz.

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