The Accidental Star – The Life and Films of Warner Baxter (ebook)
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The Accidental Star – The Life and Films of Warner Baxter (ebook)

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The Accidental Star – The Life and Films of Warner Baxter

by Dan Van Neste


 A Best Actor Academy Award on his mantle, a four-decade-long acting career on his resume, 104 feature films in his filmography, enough great reviews to fill a dozen scrapbooks, the highest paid actor in Hollywood in 1938, and the second highest in 1937, a popular star admired and loved by coworkers and fans everywhere, a man beloved by his wife, family, and friends whose philanthropy, community service, and acts of kindness won him wide approbation.  Those were but a few of the accomplishments of Warner Baxter, the actor and the man.  Yet in spite of all his achievements, the life of Warner Baxter was no bed of roses.  An insecure, troubled man bedeviled by grave self-doubts, negative thoughts and inner demons which he never seemed totally able to control, Baxter often appeared incapable of enjoying his many triumphs.  On a surface level, his unhappiness and inner turmoil appear irrational, but when one learns his history, past experiences, and the astonishing series of accidents, injuries, and catastrophes which befell Baxter and those closest to him throughout his life, his insecurities and instability become considerably more understandable.  Similarly sad is the fact that since his early death in 1951, Warner Baxter’s fame and professional legacy have basically faded into oblivion, an unjust victim of time and neglect.

Who was Warner Baxter?  Why is he important?  How is it possible such an acclaimed and popular actor, someone so admired by fans and Hollywood elites during his heyday could be disregarded and/or forgotten today? The Accidental Star chronicles the dramatic life and career of this talented, versatile and vastly underrated film star in an attempt to answer those questions.

A native of Charlotte, Michigan, author, biographer Dan Van Neste has been chronicling entertainment history for over thirty years. He is the author of three acclaimed film books:  The Whistler: Stepping Into the Shadows (2011), The Magnificent Heel:  The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez  (2017), and They Coulda Been Contenders:  Twelve Actors Who Should Have Been Cinematic Superstars (2019).  He lives in Lansing, Michigan.


BOOK REVIEW by James Neibaur:
Book Review: Accidental Star: The Life and Films of Warner Baxter

Phil Hall interviews film historian Dan Van Neste, author of the new book “The Accidental Star – The Life and Films of Warner Baxter,”  (Talkwalker)