Part biography about TV and movie star, Don DeFore, and his son’s accounts of life in a celebrity family and beyond. Don DeFore made more than 35 movies in the ‘40s through the ‘60s and co-starred in more than a dozen. He is best known for his role as “Thorny” the first next-door-neighbor on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and “Mr.B” in the 1960s TV sitcom, “Hazel.” The book includes much of Don’s unpublished autobiography, ‘Hollywood-DeFore ‘n After.’
‘Growing up in Disneyland’ is a metaphor for Ron’s life growing up in a celebrity family filled with Fantasyland adventures he equates to a Forest Gump type life, from meeting the Beatles, Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, and other celebrities as Associate Director of the Steve Allen Show. His nearly 20 careers include a mid-life crisis as the Flying DJ at an L.A. discotheque to political positions within the Reagan Presidential Administration to establishing his own company. ‘Growing up in Disneyland’ is also to be taken literally, as Ron spent much of his youth in Disneyland where his father owned “Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue” restaurant in Frontierland. Ron and his brother, Dave, have given presentations to various Disneyland interest groups after which many attendees suggested, you should write a book.
‘Growing up in Disneyland’ will be enjoyed by any age group from baby-boomers that remember Don DeFore’s many beloved acting roles to those that don’t but are curious how life was in the good-old-days, especially growing up in a Hollywood celebrity family. Ron has had so many careers and adventures along the way that readers will have much to keep them from putting the book down.
Guest Review by Betty B.
“Besides home movies and video, I get to watch my Dad on TV. There’s that feeling of being special again.”
Things have certainly changed since the golden age of Hollywood. Today, celebrities are hounded by the paparazzi and stalked on social media. They have to hide their faces in public and get married in secret ceremonies in undisclosed locations just to maintain some basic level of privacy. But, back in the 40’s and 50’s, things were very different.
‘Growing Up In Disneyland’ by Ron DeFore, is not just a look at one man’s childhood behind the screens that his father starred on, but a look at a different time in America. A simpler time. Ron DeFore is the son of Don DeFore, the actor famous for his roles in TV shows like ‘The Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet’ and ‘Hazel’, and many movies. His mother, Marion was also a well known singer with the Art Kassel radio show.
Ron had the idyllic 1950’s childhood, with a twist. He sometimes got to appear as an extra on his dad’s show and Hollywood tour buses regularly stopped in front of his house. Ron recounts these years with the same sentimental fondness that many of us do—his just sounds way cooler. He has led a very interesting life in his own right, going on to work in television and film and later in public relations and even in the federal government. I loved hearing about his different perspectives on the jobs that he has held and all of the famous people that he has met. His time working for the Reagan administration was particularly interesting to me. Ron seems to be a man who has quite the resume of unusual jobs and quirky passion projects. This book ended up being an unexpected gem and I’m so glad that I read it! I give it 5 stars!
Praise for Growing up in Disneyland
“I enjoyed the flow of the book and how the author kept the momentum going, allowed the reader to adjust and then took them on a journey where they experienced the larger than life personality of Don DeFore. The language was simple yet encouraging. Ron DeFore draws the reader in and once they have entered the colorful world of the DeFore family, they won’t want to leave. Incredibly vivid and entertaining!” – Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
“I found the life and works of both author Ron DeFore and his father Don to be a truly fascinating tale of legacy, the surreal nature of fame and the bubble-like existence which that kind of family life brings with it. Ron writes with a candid nature and kind words, recalling many adventures with a nostalgic tone that is sure to hit the hearts of those who were living during the time of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, to name but a few. For me, it was a glimpse into a past I’d no experience of, and the recollections by both Don and Ron brought everything to life with fascinating detail and authentic voices. I learned an awful lot during this heartfelt tale, and I would certainly recommend ‘Growing Up in Disneyland’ to readers who remember the fifties, but also those who would like a true portrait of Hollywood lives at the time.”-K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“A must Read Biography of a Film Star and Television Icon. A fascinating read to hear his story from the viewpoint of his son, Ron who experienced every kid’s dream/ a wonderful childhood who had a golden pass to Disneyland”-Rick Lertzman, Amazon Review
Ron DeFore is the second son of movie, television and Broadway star, Don DeFore. He has one brother, David and three sisters, Penny, Dawn, and Autumn.
He has had nearly 20 careers from TV and film production, real estate, Disc Jockey, senior executive in the Reagan Administration, to forming his own successful public relations firm in Washington, D.C.
Ron has since retired from his firm and continues to consult and write, “Growing up in Disneyland” being his major project since 2018. Ron is married to Laurie Gambino
This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends November 1, 2019, midnight pacific time.
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