Journalist and author Jenkins ( The Litigators ) masterfully recounts the life of Mitchelson, ``divorce lawyer to the stars.'' The famous Hollywood attorney resembles a Dickensian figure, but one who alarms instead of amuses. A poor student who squeaked past the bar at age 29 in 1957, within 10 years Mitchelson was winning multimillion-dollar divorce settlements for Pamela Mason, ex-wife of the actor James, and other famous folk. The lawyer prospered through the years and his reputation grew, particularly when he represented Michelle Marvin in her palimony suit against actor Lee Marvin, settled in 1979. Recently, however, Mitchelson, accused of defrauding clients, drug addiction, rape and other sexual crimes, has been forced to defend himself. That is now the main concern of the man who agreed with Dickens's Mr. Bumble that ``the law is a ass!''--and often proved it. (Aug.)
This unauthorized biography chronicles the humble origins, rise to fame, and relentless quest for publicity of Marvin Mitchelson, dubbed the ``Prince of Palimony'' for successfully obtaining legal protection for live-in lovers. Mitchelson's most famous cases--Michelle Marvin, Pamela Mason, and Joan Collins--are detailed, as is his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court. His hushed-up problems with the Internal Revenue Service over tax evasion, his cocaine use, and charges that he has raped clients are all carefully documented. Written by a journalist and author of The Litigators ( LJ 4/1/89), this is a surprisingly believable and engrossing account intended for the lay reader.-- Elizabeth Fielder Olson, Archer & Greiner, Haddonfield, N.J.