Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Stephen Michael Shearer  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1951 in Bloomington, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

He was born in Bloomington, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Stephen Michael Shearer was born Stephen Sypult in Bloomington, Illinois. He is a writer, biographer, actor and researcher. He has also worked as a model. He currently lives in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and New York.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life
ISBN: 0813123917

University Press of Kentucky. 2006

The internationally acclaimed actress Patricia Neal has been a star on stage, film, and television for nearly sixty years. On Broadway she appeared in such lauded productions as Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest, for which she won the very first Tony Award, and The Miracle Worker. In Hollywood she starred opposite the likes of Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, and Tyrone Power in some thirty films. Neal anchored such classic pictures as The Day the Earth Stood Still, A Face in the Crowd, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but she is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Alma Brown in Hud, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1963. But there has been much, much more to Neal's life. She was born Patsy Louise Neal on January 20, 1926, in Packard, Kentucky, though she spent most of her childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. Neal quickly gained attention for her acting abilities in high school, community, and college performances. Her early stage successes were overshadowed by the unexpected death of her father in 1944. Soon after she left New York for Hollywood in 1947, Neal became romantically involved with Gary Cooper, her married co-star in The Fountainhead, an attachment which brought them both a great deal of notoriety in the press and a great deal of heartache in their personal lives. In 1953, Neal married famed children's author Roald Dahl, a match that would bring her five children and thirty years of dramatic ups and downs. In 1961, their son, Theo, was seriously injured in an automobile accident and required multiple neurosurgeries and years of rehabilitation

the following year their daughter, Olivia, died of measles. At the pinnacle of her screen career, Patricia Neal suffered a series of strokes which left her in a coma for twenty-one days. Variety even ran a headline erroneously stating that she had died. At the time, Neal was pregnant with her and Dahl's fifth child, Lucy, who was born healthy a few months later. After a difficult recovery, Neal returned to film acting, earning a second Academy Award nomination for The Subject Was Roses. She appeared in a number of television movie roles in the 1970s and 1980s and won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Dramatic TV Movie in 1971 for her role in The Homecoming. Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life is the first critical biography detailing the actress's impressive film career and remarkable personal life. Author Stephen Michael Shearer has conducted numerous interviews with Neal, her professional colleagues, and her intimate friends and was given access to the actress's personal papers. The result is an honest and comprehensive portrait of an accomplished woman who has lived her life with determination and bravado.

Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr
ISBN: 0312550987

Thomas Dunne Books. 2010

The Surprising Story of Hedy Lamarr, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”

As a teenage actress in 1920s Austria, performing on the stage and in film in light comedies and musicals, Hedy Kiesler, with her exotic beauty, was heralded across Europe by her mentor, Max Reinhardt. However, it was her nude scene, and surprising dramatic ability, in Ecstasy that made her a star. Ecstasy’s notoriety followed her for the rest of her life. She married one of Austria’s most successful and wealthy munitions barons, giving up her career for what seemed at first a fairy-tale existence. Instead, as war clouds loomed in the mid-1930s, Hedy discovered that she was trapped in a loveless marriage to a controlling, ruthless man who befriended Mussolini, sold armaments to Hitler, yet hid his own Jewish heritage to become an “honorary Aryan.”

She fled her husband and escaped to Hollywood, where M-G-M changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and she became one of film’s most glamorous stars. She worked with such renowned directors as King Vidor, Victor Fleming, and Cecil B. DeMille, and appeared opposite such respected actors

as Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, and James Stewart. But as her career waned, her personal problems and legal wranglings cast lingering shadows over her former image. It wasn’t until decades later that the world was stunned to learn of her

unexpected role as the inventor of a technology that has become an essential part of everything from military weaponry

to cell phones—proof that Hedy Lamarr was far more than merely Delilah to Victor Mature’s Samson. She demonstrated a creativity and an intelligence she had always possessed.

Stephen Michael Shearer’s in-depth and meticulously researched biography, written with the cooperation of Hedy’s children, intimate friends, and colleagues, separates the truths from the

rumors, the facts from the fables, about Hedy Lamarr, to reveal the life and character of one of classic Hollywood’s most beautiful and remarkable women.

Gloria Swanson: The Ultimate Star
ISBN: 1250001552

Thomas Dunne Books. 2013

Gloria Swanson defined what it meant to be a movie star, but her unforgettable role in Sunset Boulevard overshadowed the true story of her life. Now Stephen Michael Shearer sets the record straight in the first in-depth biography of the film legend.

Swanson was Hollywood's first successful glamour queen. Her stardom as an actress in the mid-1920s earned her millions of fans and millions of dollars. Realizing her box office value early in her career, she took control of her life. Soon she was not only producing her own films, she was choosing her scripts, selecting her leading men, casting her projects, creating her own fashions, guiding her publicity, and living an extravagant and sometimes extraordinary celebrity lifestyle.

She also collected a long line of lovers (including Joseph P. Kennedy) and married men of her choosing (including a French marquis, thus becoming America's first member of "nobility"). As a devoted and loving mother, she managed a quiet success of raising three children. Perhaps most important, as a keen businesswoman she also was able to extend her career more than sixty years.

Her astounding comeback as Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard catapulted her back into the limelight. But it also created her long-misunderstood persona, one that this meticulous biography shows was only part of this independent and unparalleled woman.


Awards

-- Best Biography of 2006 - Southern California Motion Picture Council of the Arts