by Anne M. Raso
Having been a longtime friend and fan of Mark Bego’s, I was anxious to pick up his first book about his own life (he has written 55 to 60 celeb bios, both authorized and unauthorized and that is what he is famous for)!
A former celeb magazine editor and journalist, Mark has been the king of the celebrity bio for something like 35 years now and is no stranger to the New York Times bestseller list. His biggest moneymaker was a tome on Michael Jackson right about the time of the Victory Tour circa 1984 and we are sure he saw interest in it once more when the King Of Pop passed away a little over a year ago. I first met him when I interviewed him for his Aretha Franklin bio back in the mid-80s–it was for some kind of book review magazine that I have long since forgotten the name of.
Bego’s tales of pal-ing around with The Supremes’ Mary Wilson in Monaco and at Bev Hills parties are quite amusing just because they always seem to encounter a wrench in otherwise glamorous situations–such as Wilson’s angry and violent ex-hubby chasing her down the freeway in her mechanically challenged vintage Rolls or getting lost on the way to a party in Monaco given by Bill Wyman and The Prince that turned out only a few blocks away.
Other friendships Bego discusses in details are ones with The Village People’s Randy Jones, Three Dog Night’s Jimmy Greenspoon and The Monkee’s Micky Dolenz (not surprisingly, he worked on books with all three). Very often knowing one celeb often led him to getting him book collaboration deals with another, as is the case with these three. Along the way, Bego went the standard agent route–the agents would ask him for ideas on hot celebs and he would pitch ’em. He was able to write whole books out of only one interview apiece with Cher, Aretha and Madonna–and as most aspiring biographers go, that is an amazing feat–but Bego knows how to get celebs’ friends and family to talk!
I enjoyed this book but I have to say that as a journalist, I enjoyed hearing another journalist’s stories about not getting paid and wish Bego came up with antidote for the “check’s in the mail syndrome.” I always like to hear how other journalists and authors prevent getting ripped off in the crooked writing business (yes, it is arguably even worse that the music or fashion business in terms of rip-offs). Bego’s stories about making ends meet include his stint as being the Easter Bunny’s assistant at kids’ photo ops in a Michigan mall….and even once donning the bunny suit! That is light years away from his photo ops with rock and Hollywood royalty, but that’s what makes this tell-all tome so enjoyable!
I am still wondering why mustachioed mark is sitting on a lounge chair pointing at a large slice of watermelon on the cover. I am thinking that maybe it is one of those “Paul Is Dead” type clues that only those on the very inside of Bego’s world would “get”–but I will be sure to ask him about this if there is a NYC launch party for the publication of Paperback Writer! For more info on Paperback writer, go to www.markbego.com.
THE MACWIRE.COM RATING: FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.
BOOK BEAT: PAPERBACK WRITER BY MARK BEGO (Publish America Books, $29.95, available on amazon.com)