BEYOND PARADISE: The Life of RAMON NAVARRO. Andre Soares. St. Martin's Press; 2002.
A solid, well-researched, exhaustive look into the life of Ramon Navarro, who became a star during the silent era (Ben-Hur), made a few memorable and unmemorable movies throughout the sound era, then had career and alcohol problems for the rest of his life. Soares wants to make sure that the details of his murder (which were grossly sensationalized) don't overshadow the man's life and art. Although it is clear that in many ways Novarro was the typical egotistical, self-absorbed Movie Star, Soares also sympathetically explores the likable aspects of Novarro's character, as well as his romantic and sexual life, and his unlikely attempts to be taken seriously as a singer. Navarro, while homosexual, did not marry a woman as many other gay male stars did, but due to his Catholic upbringing was conflicted over his orientation. Soares also provides details about his death, including comments from his killers.
Verdict: Absorbing read. ***1/2.