The 12,775 Temporary Loves of Warren Beatty's Life
I spent some of the long weekend reading Star, Peter Biskind's biography of Hollywood's preeminent fuck machine, Warren Beatty. It begins with a chapter titled "Warrenology: An Introduction," which addresses the many times legend and journalist crossed paths throughout the years. Admitting he had never believed in "vaporous concepts like 'charisma'" until he met Beatty, Biskind had pitched him on a biography as far back as Dick Tracy, which he was covering for Premiere in 1989. He paints Beatty as a master manipulator, who'd flatly say no, then suggest yes (he "wanted his children to be able to read something that gave him his due as a filmmaker," Biskind writes), then disappear for months, then materialize for interviews in which he revealed absolutely nothing. By the end of the chapter, I was no closer to a degree in Warrenology than when I'd began, nor did I have a clear answer on whether or not Beatty had authorized the one in my hands.
And if we're to believe his lawyer, Bert Fields, he didn't.
The book's most salacious bits involve, not too surprisingly, Beatty's legendary sexual prowess. A description credited to Beatty of Jane Fonda, a former lover opposite whom he auditioned in an early screen test, said she could "unhinge her jaw" like "a python" when performing oral sex. (Tacky, and physically impossible.) Multiple passages paint him as an insatiable alpha-male and predator, stalking starlet like gazelle on the Hollywood savanna -- not for the mere thrill of the kill, but because he genuinely enjoyed the taste of the meat:
Of course he preferred intelligence, good looks, and a hot body, but in a pinch, for a casual encounter, almost any female in the known world would do -- blondes or brunettes, long hair or short, thin or fat, young or old, shiksas of JAPs, good skin or bad, white or black and every shade in between... He used to say, "Women are like a jar of olives. You can eat one, close it up, or you can eat them all."
Is is true that Beatty was bedding overweight women of every race and skin-type? That his appetite for the flesh of the fairer sex was so overpowering, even Nell Carter started to look good after a few glasses of champagne? Biskind estimates, using "simple arithmetic," that Beatty slept with a Tiger Woods-shaming "12,775 women, give or take, a figure that does not include daytime quickies, drive-bys, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on."
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