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T-R writer publishes book on Midwesterner movie stars

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY - Author Sara Jordan-Heintz displays a copy of her recent book “Going Hollywood: Midwesterners in Movieland” through PageTurner Books International.

A Times-Republican reporter has achieved another major writing milestone.

Features reporter Sara Jordan-Heintz, 28, recently published her book “Going Hollywood: Midwesterners in Movieland” through PageTurner Books International.

“It’s like 12 books in one,” Jordan-Heintz said. “It is the first of its kind to chronicle the story behind the story of 12 Hollywood legends from America’s Heartland: Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy, Anne Baxter, Jean Seberg, Jane Russell, Dorothy Dandridge, Rock Hudson, Marilyn Maxwell, Jane Wyman and Louella Parsons.”

Jordan-Heintz achieved another writing milestone in 2015, when her first work of fiction — a novella was published.

Rod Serling Books selected her “A Day Saved is a Day Earned,” a fantasy/crime novella set in 1961 Cleveland, as part of “Submitted for Your Approval,” an inaugural anthology released that year. The late Rod Serling was the Emmy-award winning, creative writing force behind “The Twilight Zone” a critically acclaimed and thought-provoking television program on CBS-TV from 1959 to 1964. Serling wrote more than 80 episodes.

“Submitted for your approval …” was his iconic phrase spoken as part of the introduction to each compelling episode, a mixture of drama, science fiction and other genres.

Jordan-Heintz said she developed the Hollywood legends book concept at age 16, as a young author writing for her parents’ magazine, “Midwest Today.” Her celebrity articles written for that publication, where she is now associate editor, formed the basis of the Hollywood Legends book.

Using rare archival sources and first-hand accounts, the book provides an inside look at how being from the Midwest influenced their lives, how they emerged on the Hollywood scene and what their legacies look like today, years after their deaths.

One fact that fascinated Jordan-Heintz was discovering the late Gable fathered a child

with the late actress Loretta Young.

“Young secretly put the child up for adoption, then adopted it as her own,” Jordan-Heintz said.

Also capturing Jordan-Heintz’s attention was the seemingly absolute power “gossip” columnist Parsons held first in Chicago as a writer for Hearst Syndicate, then later in Los Angeles.

“Parsons worked aggressively to stop release of the celebrated film “Citizen Kane“, speculated to be based on Parsons’ boss — the late William Randolph Hearst,” Jordan-Heintz said. “The film was considered an unflattering portrayal of Hearst. Parsons worked to get a rival studio to purchase it for $800,000 dollars and have it destroyed, but the efforts were unsuccessful.”

“Citizen Kane” was written and directed by the late Orson Welles. The film is considered a classic in film circles.

Jordan-Heintz, who grew up in a small town west of Des Moines, is used to seeing her name in print, having recently celebrated her fourth anniversary writing full-time for the T-R.

She is a recipient of the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award from the Iowa Newspaper Association, and honors from the Associated Press.

The author holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies and history from the University of Iowa.

She and her spouse Andy Heintz reside in Marshalltown. Andy’s book, “Dissidents of the International Left” will be published by New Internationalist, a publisher based in the UK.

Jordan-Heintz will be holding a book signing of “Going Hollywood …” 2 p.m. April 13 at the Marshalltown Public Library.

Signed copies are available here:

Going Hollywood: Midwesterners In Movieland (248 pgs)