Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Literary Hoaxes
Celebrity biography readers beware. David Cay Johnston catalogs how one best-selling author, C. David Heymann, who wrote books of historical significance about world leaders and A-class celebs, filled his pages with inaccuracies and downright scurrilous fabrications.
C. David Heymann’s Lies About JFK and Jackie, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor
by David Cay Johnston
August 27, 2014
He had been dead for over two years, but he still had a magic touch with readers.
When best-selling author C. David Heymann’s latest (and last) book, Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love, came out in July, it received the kind of reviews most authors would kill for. The Columbus Dispatch called it an “engrossing portrait.” The Christian Science Monitor and the New York Post raved. Kirkus Reviews said it was “a well-researched story” revealing the “profoundly unethical behavior of the medical and mental health professionals who dealt with [Monroe].” The popular Canadian magazine Maclean’s praised Heymann’s research, finding “his sources credible.”
The publisher, a subsidiary of media behemoth CBS, says Joe and Marilyn tells “the riveting true story” of the lusty, tempestuous and brief marriage between the Yankees slugger and the iconic actress. In this and his previous 10 books, Heymann served up intimate details no other celebrity biographer could match. It was often titillating and sometimes shocking stuff. In Joe and Marilyn, Heymann wrote that DiMaggio beat Monroe, wiretapped her home and stalked her by skulking around in disguises, wearing a fake beard and for hours holding up a copy of The New York Times so no one would notice him in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
In May 2012, Heymann fell dead in the lobby of his New York City apartment building, but that presented no problem for his publisher, according to Emily Bestler, who edited his last four books. She told Newsweek during a phone conversation in July that Heymann was “a true professional” who “finished the book before he died.” Still, Bestler said, she paid to have the book thoroughly fact-checked just to make sure all was in order. Nothing troubling turned up, she told me, not even a misspelled name.
Bestler’s mood changed when I told her I wanted to discuss numerous fabrications Newsweek had uncovered in Joe and Marilyn. She cut me off in mid-sentence, shouting that such questions were improper because she had thought I was calling only to ask about the marketing of a book by a dead author. She then declared that “this is getting ugly” and hung up. Read the rest of the article here.