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 addition 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.