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by Carole Mallory
Reviewed by: Ed Bennett
One rarely begins a book review with a confession but in the interest of truth, justice and the American way, I admit my secret passion
for the book genre known as the "Hollywood Tell-All". When assigned this memoir by the model and actress Carole Mallory I accepted
the project with the anxiousness and sweaty palms of a 15 year old with his first 'Playboy'. While the book does have a certain appeal to
my puerile soul I did find that the story encompassed more than just gossip. There was a deeper expression of betrayal and how one needs
to be alert to the perils of "friendship", both professional and intimate.
Carole Mallory is known for her role in "The Stepford Wives" and to those of a certain age, as a model appearing in nearly all major
magazines and on billboard ads. The biography is centered on her affair and engagement to Claude Picasso, son of the artist. The engagement
seems to be a perfect match until about half way through the story when this great love affair begins its death spiral. A once passionate
lover becomes controlling and then, finally, aloof to everything except the sexual component of their relationship.
As the engagement falters, Ms. Mallory seeks work in modeling and then acting. Her modeling contacts help her find her way to Hollywood where
she began a second career. She describes her friendships and relationships with then little known stars like Richard Gere and Robert DeNiro and
ultimately, the late Peter Sellers. A lesser book would have focused on personalities but Ms. Mallory gives us an in-depth look at the movie
industry as it was in the 1970s. Any woman working in Hollywood in those days had to deal with an entrenched patriarchy that commoditized women,
transforming them from persons into flesh. The difficulties of this environment are played out against the emotional tumult of her failing
engagement. Fortunately, there is a happy ending as we see the rise of yet another career, writer, emerge and take wing on the story of Ms.
Much of this book has found its way into mainstream media since fan magazines have already printed the more salacious passages. Taken out of
context they seem even more so. However, this book does give an insight into the movie industry as well as the machinations of the international
art scene. Picasso's Ghost can be many things to different people. On the surface, there is the usual Hollywood biography but once this veneer
is peeled back one finds an insightful work of rare honesty. Carole Mallory does not back away from a mea culpa when she finds herself in a
situation that she has caused. She may, in the opening chapters, appear as a typical naïf yet she moves past this into a woman who can stand
on her own and make her own way.
Ms. Mallory has written several books including novels (Flash) and the biographical Loving Mailer. She has published numerous interviews and
reviews and is obviously thriving in this, her third career. I do recommend this book but with the caution that when you come to enjoy "the
good parts", you will be expected to think.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
QUILL AND PARCHMENT REVIEW OF PICASSO'S GHOST
A WONDERFUL REVIEW FROM QUILL AND PARCHMENT , A POETRY MAGAZINE