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Axel Madsen, prolific biographer, dies in Los Angeles

Axel Madsen, prolific biographer, dies in Los Angeles

Axel Madsen, a prolific writer best known for chronicling the lives of Hollywood stars, fashion designers and business titans, has died. He was 76.
Madsen died April 23 of pancreatic cancer at his Los Angeles home, his wife, Midori, said Saturday.
A Hollywood film reporter in the 1960s and '70s, Madsen authored more than a dozen biographies. He started with a short work on director Billy Wilder in 1968, then moved on to directors William Wyler and John Huston and fashion pioneers Yves St. Laurent and Coco Chanel.
Among his other subjects were Barbara Stanwyck, French thinkers Andre Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and business leaders John Jacob Astor and William C. Durant.
His most popular works, however, were salacious Hollywood fare such as "Gloria and Joe: The Star-Crossed Love Affair of Gloria Swanson and Joe Kennedy" in 1988 and "The Sewing Circle: Female Stars Who Loved Other Women" in 1995.
Michael Hargraves, a writer and researcher at the J. Paul Getty Museum, often helped Madsen with his research.
"I always joked with him, 'How come you never had a regular desk job like I did?'" Hargraves told the Los Angeles Times. "And he said, 'I've been lucky because I've been able to get these assignments and publishers will pay me to do these types of books. They know that celebrities sell.'"
Madsen also wrote about cross-country truck drivers and the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes."
Born in 1930 in Copenhagen to a Danish father and French mother, he grew up in Paris and worked for the New York Herald Tribune in the early 1950s.
Following a stint with United Press International in Canada, he headed to Hollywood in the 1960s. There, he did publicity for movie studies and worked as freelance correspondent for various publications before dedicating himself full time to writing books.
Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons from a previous marriage.
Private services were scheduled.


Updated : 2021-08-01 09:34 GMT+08:00