Flip: The Inside Story of TV’s First Black Superstar- Kevin Cook

flip wilsonThe generation I grew up in fondly remember Bill Cosby and ‘The Cosby Show’ but before our time, there was another African-American titan, Clerow “Flip” Wilson who once ruled network television.  My parents, aunts and uncles would often reminisce on his show and the characters created by Wilson. Until reading this biography, my knowledge of him was very limited as I only saw clips of him if they happened to be on television.  This book came as a suggestion from a high school friend and author who’s always dead on when it comes to good reads.  Having read Sammy Davis Jr’s ‘Yes I can’ and the stories of Billie Holiday, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, I was curious to take a look into Wilson’s life and learn about his personal struggle to become one of the biggest African-American stars of his day.  Born during the Jim Crow era, the early part of the book exposes the ugly climate of racial prejudice prevalent throughout the United States.  Some readers may be uncomfortable, but I stress that it’s important to read through this part as these experiences would help shape Wilson into the entertainer and man he would later become.  Making it big in television, his world expands exponentially and we follow Flip as he moves through celebrity circles becoming friends with George Carlin, Richard Pryor and countless others.  But for all of the highs we see in his life, there are also the lows.   We see a gifted entertainer struggle to maintain a flourishing career while at the same time trying to be a father to several children and partner to their mother.  No stranger to drugs, his dependence on some would stay with him throughout his life.  It’s often been said that there’s a fine line between genius and insanity and in Wilson, the truth in that statement comes to light.

As the 1970s drew to a close and the 1980s approached, the television industry began to change.  Bill Cosby’s ‘The Cosby Show’ debuted and became a landmark success followed by dozens of sitcoms.  Wilson’s show, though no  longer on the air, paved the way for many young stars and his success served as an inspiration to thousands of young African-American men and women.  Although he passed away in 1998, his legacy continues to live on and for many Americans, Clerow Wilson will always be known as “Flip”.


Coreyography: A Memoir- Corey Feldman

coreyThe 1989 classic vampire film The Lost Boys remains a favorite of our family to this day. In fact, my mother will watch it all the way through anytime it is on cable.  The film contained an all-star cast and plenty of frightening sequences to keep the audience engaged. Admittedly, I am more fond of The Goonies which I believe is on the list of favorite films for anyone who grew up in the early 1980s.  In both of these films starred a young actor that became one of the most famous faces in Hollywood, Corey Feldman. The kid who starred in classics such as Stand By Me, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter and The Gremlins, is still active in Hollywood today and going strong at forty-five years of age. His life in Hollywood has given him a unique perspective on the experience of children as they grow up in an industry that moves at the speed of light.  This is his autobiography where he opens up about his childhood, stardom, his failures and his ultimate success in life. And what is contained in this book is sure to give the reader a different view on the place they call Tinsel Town and the life of Corey Feldman.

The beginning of the book sets the stage for what is to follow and the reader will pulled in to the story and unable to stop.  His revelations about his childhood are surprising and will shatter the myth that is sometimes held that child stars have the perfect life.  Feldman is quick to refute that notion and is brutally honest about the relationship he has with his parents.   When Hollywood came knocking on his door, he answered the call and embarked on a career that is nothing short of incredible.  In nearly every major studio hit with a cast of young actors, he can found in nearly all of them. His position and connections in the industry allowed him to become friends with the biggest names in the business and he gives anecdotes about his experiences with many of these people.  Feldman has disclosed on many occasions that he was a very close friend of the late Michael Jackson.  The fallout from the child sex-abuse litigation severed their friendship permanently and at the time of Jackson’s death, the two were no longer speaking.  In spite of that, the stories he shares about Jackson give the book a few lighter moments that show the good side of the King of Pop.

However, stardom always comes with a dark side and Hollywood is no different.  The tragic part is that besides personal demons, stars will be surrounded by others seeking to exploit them for all that they have an in the case of a child, their innocence.  Following the success of the Lost Boys Feldman and the late Corey Haim became teen sensations and  the hottest teen ticket in Hollywood.   Their friendship and career together blossomed but both would fall victim to the temptation of drugs and the fast life that comes with the silver screen.  Haim’s battle with drug addiction became fodder for the press and haunted him up until the time of his  death on March 10, 2010.  Feldman opens up about his deceased friend and co-star and provides eye-opening information that reveals the very dark and ugly side of being a child star.

Feldman is known for his own battles with addiction but I do not believe that most people know how close he came to completely spiraling out of control.  In this stunning memoir he tells all about his drug addiction and how his wild ways nearly cost him everything he earned in life.  Today he is clean and focused but on several occasions, he came close to going off the deep end.  For those who are struggling with their own addictions, Feldman’s story can serve as a guide on the strength and determination needed on the path sobriety.

Today, he is an outspoken critic of Hollywood and has said that it is a breeding ground for pedophilia. And as a result of his dysfunctional childhood, he has sworn to break the cycle and be the best father that he can to his son.  He is also vocal about drug use in Hollywood and has told his own story of addiction repeatedly.  Tragically, of the inner circle of friends, he remains the lone man standing having witnesses the early deaths of friends Kinison, Corey Haim, River Phoenix and Michael Jackson.  His story is a roller coaster ride but considering it comes from one of Hollywood’s true veterans, we should expect nothing less.

ISBN-10: 1250054915
ISBN-13: 978-1250054913