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What was the genesis of the book?

The book was born out of a feature story I did for the now-defunct Radar magazine about the home invasion, robbery/extortion caper perpetrated on embattled “Girls Gone Wild” impresario Joe Francis. Through an intermediary, Darnell Riley - the guy who put the gun to Francis’ head and videotaped a whirling marital aid riding the crest of his buttocks - sent me an e-mail message from prison objecting to me calling him “Dildo Dude” in a blog post on I wrote him in prison, and he basically said, “Look – I’m not going to pull an O.J. here. It’s not ‘if I did It,’ it’s ‘I did it…and then some.’” The “then some” became Six Degrees of Paris Hilton.

    -INTERVIEW: with Marc Ebner (Joseph Lindsey, Big Hollywood)

A few years ago, Andrew Breitbart and Mark Ebner collaborated on a great guilty pleasure of a read, Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in BabylonThe Case Against Celebrity. There the prurient amusement of reading about things like Eddie Murphy's penchant for transsexual prostitutes was at least offset somewhat by the focus on major Hollywood players and the authors' polemic against how transgressive of American values the myth factory is. Still, after reading it you did have a feeling you ought to wash your hands.

Marc Ebner's solo effort focuses on the B or C list underbelly of Hollywood and the hangers-on who feed off of the heiresses and rich kids who themselves are just pursuing fame without any of the compensating talent of the genuine stars. In particular, it's the story of convicted murderer Darnell Riley, who attached himself to Paris Hilton and others, became central to the release of various notorious sex tapes, kidnapped and abused infamous Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis, dealt in drugs and extortion and may have been responsible for any number of home invasions. He's a fascinating, though repellent, character and Ebner mines his story for every bit it's worth. But the reader may wonder at the end just what that worth was. The "celebrities" are generally too minor for even the ugliest dirt about them to really capture our attention and, beyond reminding us of what a vile milieu the glitterati operate in, there isn't a whole lot for us to take away from the book. Mr. Ebner writes with real gusto and often delicious savagery. But after reading about his subjects you're likely to need a whole bottle of Purell.


Grade: (C+)


See also:

True Crime
Marc Ebner Links:

    -FILMOGRAPHY: Marc Ebner (IMDB)
    -AUTHOR SITE: Hollywood Interrupted
    -WIKIPEDIA: Marc Ebner
    -AUTHOR SITE: Big Hollywood
    -GOOGLE BOOK: Six Degrees of Paris Hilton
    -INTERVIEW: with Marc Ebner (Joseph Lindsey, Big Hollywood)
    -REVIEW: of Six Degrees of Paris Hilton by Masrc Ebner (Marty Beckerman, Daily Beast)
    -REVIEW: of Hollywood Interrupted by Andrew Breitbart and Marc Ebner (Pop Matters)

Book-related and General Links: