Starstuck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood
by Leonard Maltin
GoodKnight Books, 336 pp., $26.95 (hardcover), $11.99 (ebook)
Published Oct. 12, 2021
It probably won’t bother Leonard Maltin if his newest book, Starstruck, doesn’t sell. He wrote four and published a monthly movie magazine before graduating college—all for pleasure, none for profit. “Given the amount of time it took to research them, I’d have made out better working at Arby’s.”
But it was TV Movies—later rebranded Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide—that sold millions, transforming the self-proclaiamed “film nerd” into a household name, Entertainment Tonight’s resident critic, and professor of USC’s most enviable film class. Maltin’s success is nothing if not exemplary of following one’s bliss.
Starstruck: My Unlikely Road to Hollywood is Maltin’s first memoir and, as the title suggests, is largely a collection of anecdotes about meeting and working with the celebrities and artists Maltin grew up admiring. His love for the moving image and his awe at the hands who make those images move is palpable even if Starstruck doesn’t dig much deeper than the surface. To borrow Maltin’s words on an encounter he had with Buster Keaton: “No great revelations, just a nice remembrance.” Though the remembrance he includes of Mel Brooks describing the never-seen Lobsters in New York is worth the price of publication.
Yet, there is something galvanizing about reading Maltin’s story. He loved his work so much he’d have done it for free if not for his wife Alice making sure he got paid. And his eagerness to adapt to the ever-evolving media landscape feels like a breath of fresh air. Available wherever books are sold.