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Sexiest Man Alive: The Biography of Warren Beatty


For nearly half a century, one man has embodied the glamour, sensuality, magnetism, and daring emblematic of Hollywood: Warren Beatty. Based on interviews with friends and associates, this first in-depth biography of the legendary superstar tells his complete story, offering revealing new details about:

  • his well-known conquests, and many others that haven't been reported — a who's who of feminine beauty and ...
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For nearly half a century, one man has embodied the glamour, sensuality, magnetism, and daring emblematic of Hollywood: Warren Beatty. Based on interviews with friends and associates, this first in-depth biography of the legendary superstar tells his complete story, offering revealing new details about:

  • his well-known conquests, and many others that haven't been reported — a who's who of feminine beauty and power — making him the Casanova of the century
  • his role in revolutionizing Hollywood in the sixties and seventies
  • the people with whom he worked, played, bedded, and fought, including Diane Keaton, Faye Dunaway, Julie Christie, Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson, Hal Ashby, Robert Altman, Arthur Penn, Al Pacino, and Robert Evans
  • his fascinating and sometimes contentious forays into Democratic politics
  • and much more!

One of the most sizzling, revealing books ever written about Hollywood, The Sexiest Man Alive weaves together the rich material of Warren Beatty's life and art in one juicy, satisfying read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061031519
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/27/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 474
  • Product dimensions: 4.42 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellis Amburn worked as a reporter-researcher at Newsweek before becoming a book editor at Putnam, where he edited Jack Kerouac, John Le Carre, William Golding, Edward Albee, and Paul Gallico. He was also editor-in-chief at Delacorte and William Morrow, and edited/collaborated on books by Shelley Winters, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lana Wood, and with Priscilla Presley on her #1 national bestseller Elvis and Me. Mr. Amburn is the author of The Sexiest Man Alive: A Biography of Warren Beatty; Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story; Pearl: The Obsessions and Passions of Janis Joplin; Buddy Holly; and Subterranean Kerouac.

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First Chapter

The Sexiest Man Alive
A Biography of Warren Beatty


Warren Beatty "Unclothed"
(Part I: Sharon Washington)

It was a typically bright, mild Southern California day, warm enough for Warren Beatty to have the top down on his chocolate 450 Mercedes convertible. Diane Keaton sat by his side as they sped along Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Beverly Hills. At Beverly Glen, they stopped for a light. As they waited for it to change, a youthful, exotic-looking black woman pulled up beside them. Warren didn't notice her, but Diane smiled and said, "Hi." At first, eighteen-year-old Sharon Washington, a broadcasting-school student who'd shortly win a production-assistant job with syndicated radio DJ Rick Dees at L.A. station KIIS, didn't realize who the famous driver of the Mercedes was. And Warren didn't take any notice of Sharon at all. When she finally looked around at him, Sharon was entranced and couldn't stop staring. Just then, the light changed. Warren peered over his sunglasses and shot a dazzling smile at Sharon as he steered into the turning lane and headed north on Beverly Glen. Interviewed two decades later, Sharon remembers what flashed through her mind: "Oh, my God, it's Warren Beatty again. Could this be fate? Somehow, some way I'm going to meet him."

This marked the third time in as many weeks she'd seen Beatty, who at the time was still one of the world's leading movie stars, and her yearning to meet him had grown with each sighting. "After seeing him on Sunset," Sharon said in 2000, "I was having dinner one night with a friend, who'd brought along her boyfriend. This guy said he was staying at the Beverly Hillcrest Hotel, but had thought of getting a room at the Beverly Wilshire, where Warren Beatty and Joe Namath were staying. He didn't because he liked it a little more low profile. Suddenly, I saw my chance to meet Warren Beatty. I said, 'I know it sounds crazy, but I'm going to call the Beverly Wilshire and leave a message for him to call me.' "

Over the next two weeks, she rang the hotel four times, leaving messages. Early one Saturday afternoon, she was watching television in her apartment in Culver City when Warren called. "Is this Sharon Washington?" he asked in a voice that was hushed and intimate. When she replied, "Yes," he said hesitantly, "This is Warren, Warren . . . Beatty." Sharon was momentarily speechless. Then Beatty asked, "Do I know you?"

Fearing that if she told the truth, he'd dismiss her as just another groupie and hang up, she said, "Yes." But then she thought, I'm not going to make something up. "Well, kind of," she sputtered, "but not really."

"Okay, slo-o-o-w down," he said. "Tell me what you're trying to say."

After she explained how she'd seen him three times, he didn't hang up. Instead he wanted to know all about her. When he asked why she had called, she answered honestly. "I'm not big on writing fan letters, but I knew I had to contact you because I feel there's something between us that could mesh."

"Okay," Beatty said matter-of-factly. "Describe what you look like."

"I'm five foot four, a hundred and two pounds. My hair is dark brown, and I have big eyes, thick eyebrows, long lashes, dimples, and a slender frame."

An hour and fifteen minutes of lively conversation followed. "This guy loves the telephone," she explains. "He asked me all about myself. I told him acting didn't interest me as a career, but I'd always been fascinated by the entertainment industry. Eventually I'd end up working at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills."

Toward the end of the conversation, Beatty asked Sharon if she'd do him a "favor."

"What's that?" she inquired.

"Would you mind dropping off a photo of yourself?"

She agreed, and added that since she'd recently been doing some modeling, she had a professional portrait. Before hanging up, he asked about her family and wanted to know how she got along with them. She told him fine, and he said he'd wait for her picture.

Without wasting a minute, Sharon rushed from Culver City to the Beverly Wilshire, a regal, rococo structure at the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. In the lobby, she handed the envelope containing her photo to the concierge. She drove back to Culver City a half hour later, just as it was just beginning to get dark. Five minutes after she opened her door, Warren called and said he was looking at her picture. "My God, you certainly described yourself perfectly," he said. "The picture is exactly the way I thought you'd look."

He wanted to see her in person. A few days later, he called and gave her the telephone number of his house on Mulholland Drive. He wanted to know more about why she'd contacted him and what had attracted her to him.

"It's not just one thing," she said. "I just see us communicating as friends."

"Be more specific."

It was difficult, because she was focused on having a relationship, not just a roll in the hay. But his voice was warm, cozy, and insistent, and after they talked a while, a certain intimacy was achieved. Finally, she felt comfortable enough to admit to him, after he kept pressing for input regarding her attraction to him, "Well, I do have sexual fantasies about you."

"Give me an example."

"I see us on a date. What you're wearing is very jeans...a powder-blue cardigan sweater with a little insignia on it...a shirt with a pin-striped collar. I always think of you as a football player like you were in Heaven Can Wait. Then I see us unclothed, being intimate."

She recalled in a 2000 interview, "It's not like we got..."

The Sexiest Man Alive
A Biography of Warren Beatty
. Copyright © by Ellis Amburn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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