Stardust and Shadows


"You’ll like Louis Mayer," Mary Pickford told Charles Foster in 1943. "He is from Canada, too." As Foster was soon to discover, Mayer was not alone: a great many of those who helped shape Hollywood into the movie capital of the world were Canadian.

Stardust and Shadows brings together the stories of 18 Canadians who were celebrities during Hollywood’s formative years. Most of those profiled were known to Foster, and stories they told him about Hollywood’s early days, enhanced by many years of research and interviews with other living performers and directors from the silent movie era, reveal a never-before-seen look at what the movie industry was really like in those early days.

This is Canadian history that has never been told, and many of the startling stories and secrets of Hollywood’s past are revealed here for the first time.

Celebrities profiled:

May Irwin, Al and Charles Christie, Joe and Sam De Grasse, Marie Dressler, Allan Dwan, Florence La Badie, Florence Lawrence, Del Lord, Louis B. Mayer, Sidney Olcott, Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford, Marie Prevost, Mack Sennett, Douglas Shearer, Norma Shearer.


"A totally readable book ... This is a must book for every movie enthusiast who wants to know the truth about early Hollywood." (September, 2000)

"Stardust and Shadows is a fascinating read - with some surprising revelations - for anyone with an interest in the early days of Hollywood and an eye-opener for those unaware of the rold Canadians played in the film industry's infancy."

The Chronicle-Herald (October, 2000)

"Foster has done a wonderful job of documenting the lives of some of the personalities of the silent era who may otherwise have just as easily disappeared into obscurity. This is a quality hardback, and the photos are excellently reproduced. Get it for your silent movie library."

"... Foster writes with an energetic clarity and a knack for character-revealing detail that bring these Canadian-born, often pivotal, figures to vivid life."

Arts Beat

"... worthy of a screenplay."

The Expositor (October, 2000)

"Its pleasantly gossipy yet nonetheless admiring tone makes it a lot of fun to read."

University of Toronto Bookstore Review (January, 2000)

About the Author

Charles Foster

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Charles Foster

During the Second World War, Charles Foster visited Hollywood on leave and established lifelong friendships with many of the Canadians he now writes about. Later, he wrote comedy material for many TV shows and for comedians like Bob Hope and Jack Benny. His first book, Stardust and Shadows, drew critical acclaim.