The Favorite Books of Classic Hollywood Stars
Marlon Brando liked to read Freud, and one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite tomes was The Secret Garden.

Though Old Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando are not often remembered for their intellect, they happened to be prolific readers. Both Monroe and Brando had large libraries filled with books of all genres—and it turns out, a number of their contemporaries were similarly passionate about the written word.

Greta Garbo

Garbo filled the library of her New York City apartment with poetry, philosophy, and literature. Her favorite author was Ivan Turgenev, and she enjoyed his volume of essays Literary Reminisces.

James Dean

Dean read the book The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid multiple times and dreamed of someday playing the cowboy on screen.

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe’s library contained over 400 books and her love of reading is well documented (she was also married to the playwright Arthur Miller). Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and On the Road by Jack Kerouac were two of her most beloved novels.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart

Bacall recalled that she and her husband Bogart both enjoyed the book Melville Goodwin, USA by John P. Marquand so much that they wanted to star in the movie version of it.

Marlene Dietrich

The actress was bedridden during the last ten years of her life and read as many books as she could get her hands on. By the time she died, she had accumulated over 2,000 tomes. She especially admired Goethe and had multiple volumes of his works.

John Wayne

The actor loved novels and one of his favorites was The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle, which was about The Hundred Years’ War. He was also a big fan of Charles Dickens.

Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn said that the English childhood classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of her favorite stories.

Marlon Brando

Brando had an enormous collection of books that was auctioned off after his death. His favorite volumes in his library included books about American Indians and volumes of Freud.

Elvis Presley

The singer had a large collection of religious books, and his favorite was the spiritual tome The Impersonal Life by Joseph Benner. Presley gave hundreds of copies of the book to his family and friends.

*This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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