Vanguard of Hollywood Podcast Special: Film's First Family

Join me on Vanguard of Hollywood for an interview with Terry Chester Shulman, author of Film's First Family: the Untold Story of the Costellos.

Reading and research are the backbone of each star I highlight, and each podcast episode I produce.

From primary to secondary sources, I read a lot.  It can be difficult to find sources that are trustworthy and interesting.

Terry Chester Shulman’s Film’s First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos manages to be both.

costello family
Maurice Costello, the patriarch of the Costello family, and the first bonafide movie star.

The Costello Family

Film’s First Family is an incredibly gripping read.  It tells the true story of Maurice Costello, the first motion picture star, and his beautiful daughters, Dolores and Helene, who grew up to be innovative, headline grabbing stars in their own right.  

costello family
Sisters Helene (left) and Dolores (right) Costello.

Despite their groundbreaking contributions to film and the phenomenon of movie stardom as we know it, the Costellos are surprisingly underappreciated today, probably best remembered for their connection to another film and stage family, the Barrymores: Dolores Costello is Drew Barrymore’s grandmother.

Drew Barrymore is the granddaughter of Dolores Costello.

The Story of the Costello Family

From rags to riches (and back to rags for some family members), tremendous career highs to heart-breaking lows, tempestuous romances and divorces, alcohol and drug addiction, to family feuds that went unresolved, but still left each Costello with the confidence that they usually had each other’s backs when it mattered most, the story of the Costello family reads like a novel, or even a soap opera.

But it’s a true story.  

costello family
Dolores Costello and John Barrymore in The Sea Beast (1926).

Tune in for All About the Costello Family on July 21!

Thanks to the impeccable research and writing skill of Terry Chester Shulman, for the first time, Old Hollywood fans can discover the untold story of film’s first family.  There’s never a dull moment in this triple film biography.  Terry had my undivided attention from his first sentence, and he kept me enthralled throughout the book.

University Press of Kentucky introduced me to Terry this month, and I was thrilled to have Terry join me for an interview on Vanguard of Hollywood, in which he shared his knowledge and fascinating insights on the Costello family.

It’s an episode of Vanguard of Hollywood you don’t want to miss! 

Be sure to listen on July 21 when the episode drops.

Click to view or purchase Film's First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos on Amazon.

Film's First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos

In the meantime, you can purchase Film’s First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos on Amazon [aff. links].

You can also find Terry’s book at the University Press of Kentucky.  And while you’re there, be sure to check out University Press of Kentucky’s impressive film studies and biography catalogue.

Until Wednesday!

costello family
Had to throw in another pic of the beautiful Dolores Costello.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Debra Myers

    Wow! What a story! Hadn’t heard of the Costellos. Cool about the Barrymore connection. Will definitely listen on Wednesday.

  2. Barbara H.

    Excited to listen! The Costellos sound like quite a family. Need to check out this book.

  3. Sal St. George

    A young comedian by the name of Louis Cristillo was so enamored with Dolores Costello he adopted her name and became Lou Costello.

    1. Shannon

      That’s amazing Sal, I didn’t know!

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