Farewell My Slightly Tarnished Hero book cover

When film star Johnny Lewis died in a highway crash in the early fifties he was only 24. Although only two of the three movies he made had been released, his death shocked the entertainment world. If Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield would always recall the world of the 1940s, it was Johnny Lewis more than any other star who became the rebel hero of the 1950s.
From his first bit part in a live television drama in 1950, until his death four years later, Johnny Lewis was acknowledged as one of the fastest rising and most brilliant actors of the day. But to millions of teenaged fans, Johnny meant far more. In just three films, Paradise GateChicken Run, and Texas, he came to represent their increasing alienation from their parents and society. After his death, the Lewis legend grew rapidly. Death masks sold by the thousands and spiritualists reported contacting him beyond the grave, and yet millions of his fans would not admit he was dead. Even today television showings of his films draw top ratings and his legend has continued to grow until it obscured the truth.
Assigned to write a film script covering the Johnny Lewis life and legend which had fascinated him for years, novelist Edwin Corley was to find out how little the world really knew about him. Caught up in the conflict between legend and fact, Corley discovered a hero of a different kind whose dark secret was to haunt him until reality itself had lost its meaning.