Living in the shadow of a famous parent can have powerful effects, from professional opportunities to pressure so great it leads to suicide. Some children of stars are proud of their roots while others live in secrecy. This is a rare look into the private lives of the children (and, in a few cases, grandchildren) of these classic Hollywood icons, revealing the stresses and inspirations of living with great performers who may or may not have been great parents. Some movie stars protected their offspring, but others used them as publicity props or even made them into rivals. Despite their unusual upbringing, some of the children succeeded in the movies or elsewhere, but many never lived up to the public expectations. Many lost their parents, whether to the extremes of the celebrity lifestyle, to divorce, or to their careers. From the beautiful bedtime stories Harpo Marx and his wife told their four adopted children to explain where they'd come from, to the studded belt Bing Crosby used to punish his sons for not obeying the strict family rules, this work tells the best and worst of growing up in a celebrity home.
Families covered include those of W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Eddie Cantor, Mario Lanza, Ruth Hussey, Jerry Lewis, Douglas Fairbanks and Boris Karloff. Research is drawn from interviews with celebrity offspring, who also provided never-before-published snapshots of Hollywood legends at home.