BOOKS: SWAMI, MEET GARBO

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE BOTH HOLY MAN AND HOLLYWOOD BON VIVANT? CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD DID HIS BEST

Ingrid Bergman "wasn't beautiful like Garbo, but she was radiantly appetizing...her presence was like breakfast on a sunny morning," Christopher Isherwood confessed to his diary in 1941 when he was a recent arrival in Hollywood, writing scripts for MGM. Nine pages later, he's not only describing the Marx Brothers jumping all over Somerset Maugham, "screaming like devils," but also watching Aldous Huxley and Charlie Chaplin singing old London music-hall songs on the Santa Monica Pier. No wonder the unchanging center of Isherwood's life, the Hindu Vedantist teacher Swami Prabhavananda, asked his worldly disciple to bring the Duke of Windsor to his...

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