Joseph B. Atkins unwinds Stanton's enigmatic persona in the first biography of the man Vanity Fair memorialized as "the philosopher poet of character acting." He sheds light on Stanton's early life in West Irvine, Kentucky, exploring his difficult relationship with his Baptist parents, his service in the Navy, and the events that inspired him to drop out of college and pursue acting. Atkins also chronicles Stanton's early years in California, describing how he honed his craft at the renowned Pasadena Playhouse before breaking into television and movies.
In addition to examining the actor's acclaimed body of work, Atkins also explores Harry Dean Stanton as a Hollywood legend, following his years rooming with Jack Nicholson, partying with David Crosby and Mama Cass, jogging with Bob Dylan, and playing poker with John Huston. "HD Stanton" was scratched onto the wall of a jail cell in Easy Rider (1969) and painted on an exterior concrete wall in Drive, He Said (1971). Critic Roger Ebert so admired the actor that he suggested the "Stanton-Walsh Rule," which states that "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad."
Harry Dean Stanton is often remembered for his crowd-pleasing roles in movies like Pretty in Pink (1986) or Escape from New York (1981), but this impassioned biography illuminates the entirety of his incredible sixty-year career. Drawing on interviews with the actor's friends, family, and colleagues, this much-needed book offers an unprecedented look at a beloved figure.
About the Author
Table of Contents
1 "Something Went Wrong" 11
2 "Riding a Stick of Dynamite" 27
3 From the Lexington Stage to a New York Park Bench 33
4 Early Days in Hollywood 51
5 Zelig in La La Land 63
6 Harry Dean and the New Hollywood 77
7 The Passing and the Passing Through 96
8 A Repo Man and His "Tense Situations" 117
9 To Paris, Texas, and Beyond 128
10 Harry Dean the Punk Icon 148
11 The Musician and Philosopher 171
12 Lucky in the Last Years 184
Photos follow page 116