As always with Capp, there’s a rub. Schumacher and Kitchen never shy away from his womanizing, but they only address his habit of forcing himself upon women late in the book—at the point in his life when Capp got caught. By then, as the authors point out, Capp was an old crank hopped up on pills—hardly the vital cultural force whose life they’ve been relating. But then the book backtracks: Turns out, Grace Kelly purportedly suffered a Capp assault in the early 1950s; in the ’60s, Goldie Hawn did, too. Both women were lured to his office under the guise of auditioning for L’il Abner–related media spinoffs; Capp exposed himself to Hawn, and Kelly emerged with a ripped dress and a claim (reported to biographer James Spada by Kelly’s manager) that he had tried to rape her. Schumacher and Kitchen can’t verify that, of course, but they could have more thoroughly examined a pattern of casting-couch abusiveness that seems to date well before Capp’s public souring. That subtitle, A Life to the Contrary, doesn’t cut it. This is more The Life of a Gifted and Terrible Monster.

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