Celebrity Tantrums!: The Official Dirt


192 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55022-566-9
DDC 920.02






Reviewed by Sarah Robertson

Sarah Robertson is the editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Celebrity Tantrums is a compendium of lowlights—sundry crimes,
misdemeanours, and peccadillos—that have blemished the careers and
personal lives of celebrities past and present. From Tim Allen to Oscar
Wilde, the subjects of the alphabetically arranged profiles are a
decidedly mixed bag. There are sports celebs like tennis loudmouth John
McEnroe (whose on-court tirades continued even after he joined the
Seniors’ Tour) and ear-decapitating bad boy Mike Tyson. There are
movie and TV actors (Joan Crawford, Don Johnson, Russell Crowe, etc.),
alleged murderers (O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake), and a lone politician
(Bill Clinton). Not surprisingly, rock/pop stars and rappers are the
most heavily represented group. The Jackson family alone rates three
profiles (Michael, Jermaine, LaToya), and we can expect Janet
(“wardrobe-malfunction”) Jackson to make the cut in any future

Lisa Brandt is an entertainment writer and celebrity interviewer, and
her vocation is clearly reflected in her breezy, irreverent prose:
“R&B singer Bobby Brown’s rap sheet contains more hits than he has
put on the charts”; “Whoever said there’s no such thing as bad
publicity hasn’t met [Winona] Ryder.” She opens her profile of Naomi
Campbell, who assaulted her assistant with a telephone headset, with
some deliciously acid commentary: “This sinewy supermodel gives new
meaning to the Bell Telephone slogan, ‘Reach out and touch someone.’
It appears no one told Campbell not to take it literally.” In the
Clinton profile, she poses the questions: “Why did Lewinsky keep the
stained blue dress in her closet? Was she strangely sentimental?”

“Many of the celebrities profiled in this volume,” says Brandt in
her introduction, “are good and decent souls who briefly lost their
cool. Some are victims of bad advice. Others are truly mean and nasty.
It’s for you to decide who’s who.” She helps us make up our minds
by expressing, among other things, a sneaking admiration for iconoclasts
like Robert Mitchum and an open disdain for attention seekers like
Sinead O’Connor. Her book contains no real surprises (all the stories
are a matter of public record), but gossip fans will savour it for what
it is—a lively recapitulation of the best of the worst.


Brandt, Lisa., “Celebrity Tantrums!: The Official Dirt,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17460.