Hitchcock & Friends: Lives on Film

November 28th, 2012 by Ben

Released this week is the new film about acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock. Biographies of actors, directors and other showbiz personas give script writers a lot to work with – they are usually known to have interesting lives.

Here are 10 noteworthy biopics dealing with the lives of showbiz legends – who do you think led the most scandalous life?

Man on the Moon (1999)
Jim Carrey in one of his best performances to date, portraying the eccentric comedian Andy Kaufman. Kaufman was very unconventional in his humor and those who worked with him and admired his work were never able to tell when he was serious and when he was joking or pulling pranks. He died at a young age from lung cancer, and up until this day there are those who believe he has faked his own death as a prank.
Scandal Meter: 6

Chaplin (1992)
Charles Chaplin was one of the founding fathers of modern cinema as we know it. He created a memorable character who is imitated and loved to this day and was responsible for several silent film masterpieces. He was also known to like his under-aged female leads, and in some cases he even married them. This wonderful film shows both Chaplin’s genius work and his problematic personal life, through an exquisite Oscar-nominated performance by Robert Downy Jr.
Scandal Meter: 9

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)
One of the most influential martial artists ever, Bruce Lee was also a popular actor and a pop culture phenomena of sorts. This film portrays his short yet fruitful career – from his childhood in Hong Kong, through his appearance as the sidekick in the successful TV show The Green Hornet, to his later success in film. He died at the age of 32 from reasons that are not entirely clear until this day.
Scandal Meter: 5

Me and Orson Welles (2008)
In this film, the point of view doesn’t belong to the known figure (director Orson Welles in this case), but instead is seen through the eyes of a young boy who is cast in a theater production directed by Welles. This allows us to share the perspective of people who worked around the famous character. In this case, it seems that Welles’ “dictatorship” in directing equaled only his talent.
Scandal Meter: 2

My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Marilyn Monroe is perhaps the prototype for celebrities with scandalous lives. She was addicted to drugs and alcohol, had constant issues with her weight, had many affairs with known men (including John F. Kennedy, allegedly) and eventually died at 36 from an overdose. Her character remains mysterious and fascinating to this day, and this film portrays her from a young fan’s point of view.
Scandal Meter: 10

Liz and Dick (2012)
In today’s day and age, when divorce rates are skyrocketing, having two, or even three, marriages in one lifetime is not a rare phenomena. But Elizabeth Taylor topped us all with no less than 8 husbands (and she married one of them twice). This made-for-TV movie portrays Taylor’s relationship with her most remembered spouse and the one she married (and divorced) twice – Richard Burton. Unlike the other acclaimed films on this list, this panned title can be considered a scandal within itself…
Scandal Meter: 8

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)
Peter Sellers is a perfect example of the “sad clown” myth. A beloved comedian who starred in some well-remembered comedies (including The Pink Panther series), while in his personal life he suffered from depression, self doubts and the inability to maintain close relationships. This led him to alcohol and drug abuse, which caused his death by a heart attack at the age of 54.
Scandal Meter: 7

Ed Wood (1994)
Known as “the worst director of all time”, Ed Woods’ films gained a cult following of sorts, which in part is thanks to this Tim Burton movie about him. Apparently one of Woods’ hobbies (besides making really bad films) was dressing up in women’s clothes. Other than that he had a drinking problem and fell into depression, like so many other stars on our list.
Scandal Meter: 3

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
The stunning Halle Berry is the perfect incarnation of the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Actress academy award. Despite her talent, the racism and conventions of Hollywood in the 50s and 60s did not allow Dandridge the star status she deserved. She was deep in debt due to a scam from her financial advisors, gave birth to a brain-damaged child, and finally suffered a nervous breakdown and died in the midst of planning a comeback.
Scandal Meter: 4

Hitchcock (2012)
This upcoming film focuses on a very specific period in acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock‘s life: the shooting of Psycho, perhaps his most known and recognized work. Hitchcock was not known for a scandalous private life like most on this list – no drug abuse, no depression, no untimely death, but he was known to be a ruthless dictator on the film set, and a menace to his actors and especially actresses. This film is supposed to reveal that side of Hitchcock.
Scandal Meter: 1

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