Fallen Idols: A Century of Screen Sex Scandals by Nigel Blundell


All too often, celebrities are put on pedestals only to fall when scandal strikes. In Fallen Idols, Nigel Blundell takes readers on a trip down memory lane, recalling infamous events in the lives of select notables that occurred within the last century.

After giving a brief rundown on infamous events tied to 21 various celebrities (including Clara Bow, Richard Pryor, and Rob Lowe) in the introduction, the book focuses its fourteen fairly short chapters on the following people:

  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Fatty Arbuckle
  • Jean Harlow
  • Errol Flynn
  • Grace Kelly
  • Lana Turner
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Jayne Mansfield
  • Elvis Presley
  • Roman Polanski
  • Joan Crawford
  • Rock Hudson
  • Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swaggart
  • Woody Allen

Years ago, I spent a lot of time reading biographies about movie stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It seemed like such a glamorous time, and I was completely enchanted by the idea of it, so I read about as many of the old movie stars as I could. As a result, I was already familiar with many of the stories told in this book. It was interesting to read about them again, particularly when I’d forgotten certain details or didn’t know how that person’s story ended.

I particularly enjoyed the photographs. I had never seen most of them before, so I spent a lot of time examining them.

Final Thoughts

Little surprised me concerning the selected stories, but my familiarity with them didn’t lessen my interest in the book. The photographs ended up being the main attraction for me as a result, and I was pleased to see a nice amount of them in each chapter.

Given the subject matter, this book may not appeal to everyone. People who enjoy this type of book will likely find it an entertaining read, however.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Pen & Sword History.


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Author: Nigel Blundell
Title: Fallen Idols: A Century of Screen Sex Scandals
Series: Images of the Past
Genre: Nonfiction, Social History
Publication Date: June 19, 2019 by Pen & Sword History
Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

It’s a scandal! How often we use that phrase and what a catalogue of sins it covers. That’s what this book is all about. It is literally a catalogue of sins – committed by some of the most celebrated names on the planet.

Within these covers are startling stories of scandals during a century when screen idols seemed to vie with each other in outraging public decency. It was an age when fan fever was at its height and an endless supply of shocking revelations emerged to fuel the frenzy.

Because of the perpetrators’ superstar status, the shame of exposure was often heightened, not only wrecking reputations but often harming careers and, at least, ensuring very public humiliation.

The lessons learned from these cases of celebrity scandal (though often, it seems, not by the celebrities themselves) is that the bigger the star, the harder the fall … and that deceit and intrigue so often turn hard-won fame into instant infamy.

About the Author

NIGEL BLUNDELL is a journalist who has worked in Australia, the United States and Britain. He spent 25 years in Fleet Street before becoming an author and contributor to national newspapers. He has written more than 40 books, including best-sellers on crime and royalty. He co-wrote the Top Ten exposé Fall of the House of Windsor, which first revealed the so-called ‘Squidgygate’ tape and the infidelity of both Princess Diana and Prince Charles. His other factual subjects have included military history, celebrity scandals, and ghosts and the paranormal.

3 thoughts on “Fallen Idols: A Century of Screen Sex Scandals by Nigel Blundell

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