This is an extract from David’s Book – Memoirs of a Gossip Columnist, available in stores now.
Los Angeles was my next stop. I’d decided LA was the place and I was champing at the bit to get there.
I’d realised early on in my career that if you wanted to be where the stars were, where the movies were made, there was only one thing to do. You had to go to LA. It certainly wasn’t going to come to me, so I had to go to it.
I arrived in LA with one or two contacts. Many years ago I’d written to Edith Head, arguably one of the most significant costume designers in film history. Edith was an amazing designer she’d been nominated for 35 Academy Awards and had won eight, more than any other woman. Edith was such a big deal that her name would appear above the title something that was truly extraordinary for a costume designer. She was tiny but always seriously stylish, and she was known for her trademark dark sunglasses and severe haircut. They say she wore them to see how clothes would appear in black and white on the screen, but she certainly looked fabulous all the same. Anyway, she answered my handwritten letter and we kept in correspondence. Continue reading
DAVID HARTNELL grew up in a secure but unremarkable suburban life. His interests in things colourful and theatrical led him to championship roller skating and cabaret. On his big OE, he landed a job in Australia and then in the heart of the London cosmetics industry, eventually attending to the makeup needs of A-listers. He went onto New York and Los Angeles where his career took a change of direction as a Hollywood Gossip columnist. Returning home in the mid seventies led to screen appearances as a purveyor of celebrity gossip, and he continued to travel frequently back and forwards to Hollywood.
David rapidly became established as New Zealand’s number 1 celebrity gossip columnist on television, radio and print. Frequent visits to Hollywood established his credentials until he became an encyclopaedia of trivia and scandal about the rich and famous – and the public lapped up every word.
Today no-one is recognised as knowing more about Hollywood. Not only has he spent a lifetime reporting on Hollywood gossip, but he now counts a number of international celebrities among his lifelong friends. David is the Patron of the Variety Artists of New Zealand Inc. In 1989 he was awarded a Variety Artists Club Scroll of Honour.For recognition and thanks for his international achievements and continuing contribution to the New Zealand entertainment industry
In May Penguin will be publishing his memoirs titled “Memoirs of a Gossip Columnist” He writes about behind the glitter and the showbiz glamour, David’s story also reveals the private strains he has experienced behind the ever-confident public face. He writes about damaging family secrets, being bullied because he was gay, two name changes and being sued for defamation by a prominent New Zealand singer.
Bursting with remarkable photos and stories of his encounters, including a surprise lunch with Alfred Hitchcock and Bette Davis, his close friendship with the legendary Phyllis Diller, little-known secrets about the Royal Family’s crown jewels and many, many more, this book is for anyone who loves behind-the-scenes gossip and enjoys a rollicking good read.
Davis Hartnell received his Boulevard Star on the 13th FEBRUARY 2011
David is an award winning broadcaster and columnist hes also the patron of The Variety Artists Club of New Zealand Inc. Her Majesty The Queen, awarded David the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (formerly an MBE) in the Queen’s birthday Honours list 2011.