Hollywood Hellraisers concerns the lives of four iconic movie stars; Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson. Two of them are still with us, two are gone - but all left an indelible mark on Hollywood.
The book is basically a four-part biography. Each of the men started out poor, but developed a keen interest in acting early on. Marlon Brando was born April 3, 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska. His was an abusive, alcoholic family, and he left it behind at the age of 19. Four years later, on December 3, 1947 to be exact - Marlon Brando became a star. His role as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire became the hottest ticket on Broadway.
Dennis Hopper came into the world on May 17, 1936, on a wheat farm in Kansas. He was only five when he lost his father during basic training before shipping out to join the war. In 1946, his father returned from the dead. Jay Hopper had been recruited as a spy, and his whole death had been a ruse. The entire event haunted Hopper until the day of his own death, and may in large part explain some of the self-destructiveness he later displayed.
Warren Beatty arrived in the world March 30, 1937 - three years after his sister Shirley MacLaine. They had a pretty normal upbringing in Richmond, Virginia, although both had their eyes on show business. Warren was still in high school when Shirley hit the big time. Sibling rivalry demanded that he become a bigger star.
Jack Nicholson was born (appropriately enough) in Neptune, New Jersey, on April 22, 1937. His situation is the strangest of the four, as he did not find out until the age of 38 that the woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother. And his “sister” had actually been his birth mother. Nicholson was already a rich and famous movie star by the time of the discovery, and acted unfazed by the whole thing. But it must have been devastating, especially as both had already passed away.