Crossover Stardom : Popular Male Music Stars in American Cinema
Author(s): Julie Lobalzo Wright
Crossover Stardom: Popular Male Stars in American Cinema focuses on male music stars who have attempted to achieve film stardom. Crossover stardom can describe stars who cross from one medium to another. Although 'crossover' has become a popular term to describe many modern stars who appear in various mediums, crossover stardom has a long history, going back to the beginning of the cinema. Lobalzo Wright begins with Bing Crosby, a significant Hollywood star in the studio era; moving to Elvis Presley in the 1950s and 1960s, as the studio system collapsed; to Kris Kristofferson in the New Hollywood period of the 1970s; and ending with Will Smith and Justin Timberlake, in the contemporary era, when corporate conglomerates dominate Hollywood. Thus, the study not only explores music stardom (and music genres) in various eras, and masculinity within these periods, it also surveys the history of American cinema from industrial and cultural perspectives, from the 1930s to today.
“Crossover Stardom represents a welcome intervention in star studies, providing a long overdue framework to explore multi-media stardom as a key concept within the field. Lobalzo Wright's wide-ranging study of stars from Crosby to Kristofferson is entertaining and enlightening, serving as both a rich resource and an invitation to further research on this essential topic.” —Karen McNally, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, London Metropolitan University, UK
“Julie Lobalzo Wright explores a relatively neglected but important field of star studies. Her clear, scholarly and lively discussion of male stars with contrasting levels of meaning and popularity in different media expertly ranges over questions of genre, spectatorship and masculinity. Drawing especially on gender and cultural theory, her fine analysis of persona and performance brilliantly highlights afresh the impact and significance of crossover stars like Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley.” —Peter William Evans, Emeritus Professor of Film Studies, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
“Crossover Stardom presents five case studies of US American male stars who moved from music to film. Although each case study is insightful in itself, the strength of Crossover Stardom is the bringing together of five quite different male stars over a period of almost a century. Lobalzo Wright effectively uses the concept of the star image to examine both the historical continuities as well as the changes in the way gender and genre function within the entertainment industry. Rather than merely questioning whether or not these crossovers into film were successful, the book shows how the onscreen performances are informed by the off-screen music star image. The focus on the star image enables to explore how these performers embody an ideal masculinity of their times and its connection to music genres, ranging from the American songbook, rock 'n' roll and country to contemporary hip-hop and pop. Crossover Stardom not only successfully applies the star image to popular music studies, but also highlights the relevance of the-often-neglected-male music star in the study of film.” —Jaap Kooijman, Associate Professor in Media Studies and American Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands