More than sixty films. More than thirty television roles. More than seventy arrests.
Lawrence Tierney was the toughest, meanest, coldest actor in Hollywood, onscreen and off. An overnight sensation in 1945 as Public Enemy #1 in the movie Dillinger, he proceeded to drink and brawl his way out of a career by the early 1950s – or so it seemed. Lawrence Tierney is the great untold story of the dark side of Hollywood – a story of alcoholism, madness and violence, but also survival, loyalty, and genius. Much more than another fall-from-grace-to-the-gutter entry in Hollywood Babylon, Tierney was a truly gifted actor, and after Hollywood had forgotten him as the tall, handsome, fearsome star of its Golden Age, he made a comeback as a craggy, gravel-voiced bald-headed — and fearsome — old man who befriended and inspired a new generation of filmmakers and writers, from John Sayles to Quentin Tarantino.
My new book, Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood’s Real-Life Tough Guy, is the first biography of this legendary Hollywood figure. In October, I got together with some of the people who are featured in the book – Tierney’s friends – for NoirCon, the virtual film noir conference. Director Jeff Burr; screenwriter, author and director C. Courtney Joyner; film historian and horror movie maven David Del Valle; and Tierney family historian and Tierney’s nephew Tim Tierney, joined me and film noir scholar Dr. Jason A. Ney for a freewheeling, clip-filled discussion about the life and crimes of Lawrence Tierney. The panel discussion had been restricted to folks who bought tickets for the conference, but now, we present it on Legsville.com.
More to come. And more information at LawrenceTierneyBook.com, where first edition copies of the book from the University Press of Kentucky are now on sale.
Burt Kearns is the author of three books, including Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood’s Real-Life Tough Guy, which is available for sale on Amazon.com. He also writes and produces nonfiction television and documentary films.