Review: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner

Title: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Author: Peter Turner

Pages: 177 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

On 29 September 1981, Peter Turner received a phone call that would change his life. His former lover, Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, had collapsed in a Lancaster hotel and was refusing medical attention. He had no choice but to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family’s home in Liverpool.

Liverpool born and bred, Turner had first set eyes on Grahame when he was a young actor, living in London. Best known for her portrayal of irresistible femme fatales in films such as The Big HeatOklahoma and The Bad and the Beautiful, for which she won an Oscar, Grahame electrified audiences with her steely expressions and heavy lidded eyes and the heroines she bought to life were often dark and dangerous. Turner and Grahame became firm friends and remained so ever after their love affair had ended. And it was to him she turned in her final hour of need.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is an affectionate, moving and wryly humorous memoir of friendship, love and stardom.


The Review

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is the absolutely lovely account of Peter Turner, a Liverpool born actor who had a chance encounter with an Oscar winning film star that changed his life. The fact that all this really happened makes it all the more Hollywood-esque and utterly heartbreaking.

Turner’s autobiographical account of his tryst with Gloria Grahame is the ultimately sad story of Hollywood’s devaluation of age and how, for female actors in particular, physical demise can be career destroying. Turner’s care and love for Grahame oozes off the page, besides love you feel an ultimate sense of respect and pain as he watches someone who he loves fall apart.

For me, one of the best parts of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is Turner’s portrayal of Liverpool. He neither writes in clichés or disgust which is how I have found Liverpool to be portrayed in some books. However, Liverpool being his hometown may be how and why he manages to show it with such love and respect; similarly to what he shows Gloria Grahame.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner is available now.

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