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The Playboy Interviews: Larger than Life

From Booklist


Since Playboy's inception in 1953, guys have been telling their sweethearts that they read the magazine for the articles. The third installment of Playboy interviews gives their claim some validity (although probably not enough). The first two collections were grouped under the topics of sports figures and film directors, while the latest simply has the designation "Larger Than Life," and indeed those interviewed were awfully big for their britches. The interviewees include Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Bette Davis, Bob Dylan, Mae West, and Muhammad Ali, among others. The interviews--in true Playboy fashion--are revealing, but also fascinating to realize are the periods in which they occurred. Sinatra was interviewed in 1963, and the cold war was definitely on his mind. Bette Davis, in 1982, had a long career of ups and downs to sound off about. But Muhammad Ali is the perfect example of how honest these personalities could become when allowed to digress; asked why he flunked the army's preinduction test, he replied, "I have said I am the greatest. Ain't nobody ever heard me say I was the smartest." Jerry Eberle
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