Film’s First Family

The Costellos were one of the earliest dynasties to become key players in the film industry. Their stories–interwoven with scandals, secret marriages, and battles of all sorts–remain interesting both on-screen and off.

As each of their stars rose, so, too, did their tendencies to self-destruct, as is evidenced in the ups and downs of screen idol Maurice Costello; his daughter, Helene; and more. Terry Chester Shulman’s Film’s First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos explores the lives, careers, and legacies of the Costello family. In addition to covering their influence in film, Shulman offers a thorough and honest portrait of the high points and low points of their lives.

Moreover, Shulman’s work is well-researched, looking to the family’s own documents and artifacts, in iddition to various interviews in order to effectively depict the Costello family.

While the Costello name may not be as familiar to today’s audiences, the Costello legacy continues on through contemporary actress Drew Barrymore.


Film’s First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos is available for purchase via the University Press of Kentucky.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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1 Response to Film’s First Family

  1. Ricky Butler says:

    This would be a interesting read. we get a view of Drew Barrymore’s other famous Family-Film-Dynasty. we seldom hear about them.

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