How To Grow Old Disgracefully
How to Grow Old Disgracefully
After one's dead, people write such terrible things about one. Of course, in my case they'll be true, but I'd rather write it myself and set the record straight." -Hermione GingoldDescribed as "an amalgam of Groucho Marx and Tallulah Bankhead", Hermione Gingold was the last of the British eccentrics. The red-headed actress wowed audiences all over the world with her devastating wit and her reputation as a man-eater, witch, and queen of "high camp". Her vigorous acting career spanned seventy-eight years, from childhood appearances on the British stage with young Noel Coward, Shakespeare at London's Old Vic Theatre, to her outrageous comedy performances in West End and Broadway revues. Her enduring film roles include The Music Man, Bell, Book and Candle, and Gigi, in which she sang the unforgettably bittersweet duet with Maurice Chevalier, "Ah Yes, I Remember It Well". At the age of eighty-one, she was once again the toast of Broadway in Side by Side by Sondheim. That same year she enjoyed her last great love affair, with a man fifty-three years her junior.Written in her own inimitable and very personal style, How to Grow Old Disgracefully is a hilarious, no-holds-barred, outrageous self-portrait of the actress once dubbed "the funniest woman in the world From Publishers Weekly Anne Clements, Lady Eyre, writes in her prologue that she "tidied up" only some punctuation in Gingold's autobiography, appearing after the actress's death in 1987. True to the acid-tongued, droll comedienne's public persona, the book contains the unabashed story of a life that ended just short of her 90th birthday. For 78 of those years, Gingold worked on the stage in her native England and, from the late 1940s, in the United States. Her notoriously quick wit made her a favorite guest on TV talk shows, and she is also remembered as a gifted actress in films: The Music Man , Gigi , etc. Apart from performing, Gingold's other passion was amorous dalliance, and she clearly relished telling in this memoir about the many men she was involved with, husbands and lovers. This is a delightful, sometimes sad, story about a singular person and many of her legendary associates: Noel Coward, Chevalier, Gary Cooper, Judy Garland et al. Photos not seen by PW. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Shortly before her death last year at age 89, Gingold completed this memoir. Best known for her role in Gigi , Gingold shone in her later years on talk shows, where her sharp-witted, waspish sense of humor made her queen of the late-night circuit. Admitting that she lost some interest in sex after 85, she discusses her many affairs, including one begun when she was 81 and the man 26. She is frank about her two marriages and the fact that she left her two children for her career. Nonetheless, the book as a whole is disappointing. Her eagerness to include every clever one-liner she ever uttered results in a forced tone and choppy style that interferes with the flow of the book. Not a necessary purchase. Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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