The Farrows of Hollywood

The cast: A well-known Hollywood director and novelist who didn’t think twice about taking a swing at his beautiful actress-wife; at night she closed her bedroom door and prayed under the large cross hanging over her bed; their three sons: one killed in a plane crash before his twentieth birthday; another, a suicide in his 60s; and a third, put behind bars after years of sexually abusing young boys. Add to the mix their famous daughter whose acting career eventually collapsed into public displays of custody battles and charges of rape and incest aimed at her equally famous film director partner; then her own son, a celebrated journalist with possibly two fathers and at least as many names.

This is no fiction: It’s the true but hidden backstory of one of Hollywood’s enduring screen families, the real deal, true Hollywood royalty loved by fans for decades. The public saw them living a fairytale life that only the movies could create. But behind the fairytale lay something closer to a bad dream: nightly screaming matches between two parents who filled the air with their alcoholism and religious fanaticism, parents who could physically and emotionally abuse their children before turning a cold shoulder and exiting the scene.  Illnesses and tragedy followed like chasers and knocked everyone flat. A darkness lay over the Farrows but no one in the family talked about it. It might be any family’s tale but, in this case, Hollywood added lustre to the chilling story of one of its own.