Going to use this post to announce that Grace Collins and I have an upcoming series on this; however, I wanted to spend a little time talking about their legacies. Some of these books are hard reads, others are relatively tame, but all of them promise to give an inside look into Golden Age celebrities as living, breathing parents. Please note, if you click on the picture below, you can purchase the book through Amazon. 🙂
This is the book that actually inspired this series. 1994’s Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darrin and Sandra Dee tells the stories of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee via their son, Dodd Darin. Dodd admits he really didn’t know his dad and painted up a god-like idea of him, only to discover a cruel egomaniac, which is refreshing. The rub for me lies in how he talks Dee, describing her as an alcoholic recluse suffering from anorexia who he both hates and loves; however, Dee readily helped him with the book and even appeared at Brentano’s with him to promote it.
One of Dodd’s main reasons for writing the book was due to a biopic that had been shopped around since the 80s. In 1995, producers hoped to get Johnny Depp to appear as Bobby Darin.
Sources reported that the book brought the two of them closer together, which is also supported by a lengthy interview with Dee from a Knoxville newspaper.
After the bio-pic spent a few more years in development hell, it was announced that Tom Cruise was on the short list to play Darin with Drew Barrymore as Dee.
A year later, Dick Clark Productions began to develop the project in association with Dodd:
Later that year, Kevin Spacey’s name got attached to the film:
In 2004, Beyond the Sea was released with Kevin Spacey as Darin and Kate Bosworth as Dee. It bombed at the box office, recouping less than half of its budget. Dodd was impressed with the film.
Dream Lovers can at times feel like a hateful book, but I think it’s more so Dodd working through his feelings about his parents as he’s writing. Because of Dodd’s realizations at end (his mom isn’t all bad, his dad was a flawed person), I think it’s worth the read. Focusing on Darin so much isn’t my cup of tea, but I also understand why people find him fascinating. Personally, I would prefer a Dee biopic.
Overall, I believe the book helps both of his parents legacies which is why I would rank it as one of the better child memoirs. I don’t think it’s going to work for everyone, and for me, it was a bit of a slog in certain parts, but Dodd’s combating the overly positive relationship the press created about his parents’ relationship to show them for what they were: sad, traumatized individuals who created a dream world that could never last.