Maltin's 1976 volume on Lombard was part of a paperback series on classic-era stars from Pyramid Communications. It's about 160 pages long and full of pictures and good, perceptive writing, as you'd expect from Maltin, whose affection for Lombard is obvious (though if you're a fan of the film "True Confession," be forewarned -- he doesn't care much for it). It's not the definitive Lombard bio, but then, that wasn't the intention of this series.
Here's the cover of the book, followed by a few glimpses of what's inside:
The good news is that this book, which by now is rather rare, is available at auction on eBay, likely at a reasonable price. You can find it at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370141593006&indexURL=3#ebayphotohosting. Bids begin at $9.99, and I'm a bit surprised there are no bids as of this writing. Bidding closes at just after 6:45 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday.
Okay, you're now asking, who's the "Laura" in the subject line, and what does she have to do with all this?
The Laura in question happens to be someone you may know if you've watched TV over the past decade. She's Laura Prepon, who played Donna Pinciotti on Fox's long-running "That '70s Show" and more recently was on ABC's short-lived drama "October Road." Here she is, redhaired, from her Donna days, and in her more recent incarnation as a blonde:
Laura hails from Watchung, N.J. -- which, it just so happens, is in the area where I was editing a weekly newspaper in late 1998 when "That '70s Show" hit the airwaves. I was the first person to extensively interview her and became friendly with her family. Since I had a spare copy of the Maltin Lombard book, I gave it to her, believing then (as I do now) that Carole's career (and the way she lived her life) could be an inspiration to any young actress.
I have no idea whether she's ever read it.