William J. Mann

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William J. Mann is an American novelist, biographer, and Hollywood historian[1] best known for his studies of Hollywood and the American film industry, especially his 2006 biography of Katharine Hepburn, Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn. Kate was named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2006 by The New York Times.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mann was born in Connecticut and, after working briefly as a Capitol Hill aide, received his Master's degree at Wesleyan University.[3][4]


He got his start as a journalist at the now-defunct Hartford Monthly magazine. He freelanced for, among others, Architectural Digest, Connecticut magazine, Men’s Fitness, Frontiers (Los Angeles), and The Boston Phoenix. From 1992 to 1995, Mann was co-publisher of Metroline magazine, a gay-lesbian newsmagazine based in Hartford, Connecticut.[5]

Mann's first novel, The Men From the Boys, was published by Dutton in 1997. He continued with a series of novels set in Provincetown, although he has also set his fiction in Palm Springs and Los Angeles. In addition, Mann has written the nonfiction books Wisecracker (1998), a biography of film star William Haines, for which he won the Lambda Literary Award,[6] Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood (2001), Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger (2005), and How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood. "Reading this life is like gorging on a chocolate sundae," Publishers Weekly wrote of the book.[7]

Mann’s most recent book was Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand (Houghton Mifflin, 2012). “A fresh exploration of the early years of Streisand,” wrote the Washington Post.[8]

Forthcoming work includes Tinseltown: Madness, Morphine and Murder at the Dawn of the Movies, due in 2014 from HarperCollins, the story of how the Hollywood studio system and the Hays Office were established during the early 1920s, told alongside the famous, unsolved murder mystery of director William Desmond Taylor, which Mann promises to solve.[9]





  1. ^ "Book World Live". Washington Post. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "100 Notable Books of the Year". New York Times. 3 December 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Author William Mann to Appear at the Palm Springs Public Library, Palmsprings Library. Staff. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  4. ^ Buzz from Around the Bend/Middletown's Outdoor Theaters, Middletown-ct.patch.com. By Elizabeth Warner. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  5. ^ "About William J. Mann"
  6. ^ Antonio Gonzalez Cerna (15 July 1999). "11th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "How to be a movie star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood: Review by Publisher's Weekly Review"
  8. ^ "Funny how that girl became Barbra": Washington Post. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  9. ^ "William J. Mann Official Website"

External links[edit]