Imagine hobnobbing with those exciting Hollywood celebrities of yesteryear and then writing several books and magazine articles about them.
Sylvia Resnick doesn’t have to imagine, she did just that.
Resnick, who is now in her 80s, has resided at Heritage Pointe Assisted Living in Mission Viejo for 7 years. However, the author, and former celebrity magazine writer is still actively engaged in her writing career.
Her most recent Hollywood-themed book, The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob, is a compendium of biographical information about the lives and careers of the men who made female moviegoers hearts race from the 1930s up through 2010.
In fact, Resnick has had nine Hollywood-themed books published by traditional publishers, along with more than 30 years of covering celebrity lifestyles.
Having once written for popular fan magazines, she also held the position of Associate Editor on Rona Barrett’s Hollywood Magazine and is currently under contract to Soul Mate Publishing to complete an erotic historical novel with an underlying theme of Hollywood.
Resnick recently shared some of her fond memories of the Hollywood of yesteryear, often comparing it to today’s celebrities.
Q: Where were you born and raised?
A: I was born and raised in Chicago.
A: Two years of college, plus night classes.
Q: When did you become interested in Hollywood and celebrities?
A: I was a fan of movies from the time I was 5, and entered contests to do imitations of Greta Garbo, Shirley Temple, and Mae West. Movies were my escape from an unhappy childhood.
Q: You worked with Rona Barrett, a very popular gossip columnist in her day and age, what was it like?
A: Rona Barrett was very kind to me. She was clever, as well the ‘Queen of the Day’ in her field of expertise; she always was accurate in her reporting as was possible. Gossip in that day was different from what it is these days. It was fun and insightful without being salacious. And it was not exaggerated or misconstrued.
Q: What’s the difference between the gossip of yesteryear compared to today?
A: The gossip of yesterday was usually light-hearted and informative. Even when it pertained to a pending marriage breakup it was tempered with a kind of grace. The gossip of yesterday as I recall it, kept fans informed without hurting the actors or being outright mean or incorrect as it too often is today.
Q: Can you imagine stars of yesteryear posing naked in selfies to get PR?
A: Heaven forbid. These actors were talented and serious about their work. But they also had a sense of humor so they may have taken a selfie or two. There were nudes done as well, but not by any serious actors that I know of. I was not privileged to be in the business before the 1960s but I did hear rumors.
Q: How has the term ‘celebrity’ changed over the years? And in your opinion for better or worse?
A: A celebrity in my day was just that, someone with prestige, talent and a dedicated fan base. Fans were interested in every phase of the lives of their favorite, but in a hero worship way. Today, fans chomp at the bit for the most intimate bits of information and are titillated by them.
Q: Tell us about your latest book The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob.
A: The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob came about one day when I was writing up an interview. I thought about the changes that had come about in the business; the appearance, talent and public life of an actor and mostly about the money actors were making.
Years ago, an actor might make three or four films a year and still not earn anywhere near the kind of money today’s actor does for just one film. The appearance of actors has also changed from the chiseled sometimes breathtaking good looks of the 30s. It has evolved into a variety of ‘looks’ from boyish to good looking to ruggedly handsome. Once clean shaven eye candy, today’s heartthrob has his own individuality in appearance. An imperfect feature does not deter him from capturing the heart or devotion of a fan.
Strong features have replaced the boyish appeal of yesterday’s heartthrob. Today, it’s sensuality that wafts across the screen into the throbbing hearts of women.
Q: Did it take long to write?
A: It took a few years to complete the book mainly due to the research involved, but along the way I learned some interesting facts about this group of men.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: My inspiration just happens. I get the nucleus of an idea, mull on it until it takes shape. I jot down phrases that may come to me in the middle of the day or night and take it from there. My mind is always on the alert.
Q: Where can we buy The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob?
A: Hollywood Heartthrobs is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Bear Manor Media.
Q: Who did you enjoy meeting the most back in the day?
A: Glenn Ford because he was a real movie actor who made my young heart race … but somehow I was able to keep my composure. He was, after all, Glenn Ford.
Q: Do any of today’s ‘stars’ even compare to those of yesteryear in your opinion?
A: I can think of a number of today’s ‘stars’ who have the appeal some of their counterparts had decades ago. They also have the talent. i.e.: Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, and Denzel Washington. Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Colin Firth are examples of extreme good looks combined with talent that are equal to anyone in the 1930s/1940s in my opinion.
Q: What’s ahead for you?
A: I am a mystery buff and I would really like to write a mystery one
day. When I am skimming the Internet, I do read some of the gossip about the actors I favor. I am also under contract with SoulMate Publishing to complete an erotic novel circa 1947 intertwining back alley gambling, Hollywood and The Outfit.
Q: What brought you to the OC?
A: My husband passed away and our son convinced me to sell our home and move closer to him and his family in Orange.
Clearly Sylvia Resnick has a lot of stories to share about the days of Old Hollywood; so if you’re interested, pick up a copy of The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob.