Book Review: “The Men in My Life” by Patricia Bosworth

This cover image released by Harper shows "The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan," by Patricia Bosworth. (Harper via AP)

This cover image released by Harper shows "The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan," by Patricia Bosworth. (Harper via AP)

“The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan” (Harper), by Patricia Bosworth

One-time actress Patricia Bosworth’s long and sometimes fascinating memoir of life among the glitterati of 1950s New York recalls a world and a set of characters slowly fading from our collective memory.

The California-born Bosworth starred in the 1955 Broadway production of “Inherit the Wind” and alongside Audrey Hepburn in 1959’s “The Nun’s Story.” But she’s perhaps best known for her biographies of Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Diane Arbus — the latter having served as inspiration for the film “Fur.”

Behind her several failed marriages and relationships that she chronicles in “The Men in My Life” lies the doting daughter of famed civil rights attorney Bartley Crum. The young Bosworth attended all the right schools, and she was successful as a model. The heart of her biography, however, seems to have been her lifelong struggle dealing with her father’s alcoholism and her parents’ dysfunctionality — but most of all it was her brother’s suicide that left her in an emotional tailspin.

It’s hard at times to fully empathize with Bosworth given the remarkable privilege that she grew up with — and her desire to sometimes kick it in the teeth. But she’s also a loving, passionate and talented woman, and her descriptions of the now somewhat forgotten personalities surrounding Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio make for some stirring reading.

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