An unretouched portrait of jackie gleason- his signature- sic-is a contradiction- appraises this king- sized personality who is just a great big overgrown boy through the eyes of those who have known him, lived with him- or have tried to, and worked with him. As massive as he looks (he maintains three wardrobes -for 180 pounds, 220 or 260- he's funniest at 260), he's a ""disparate.. sometimes desperate"" figure- in his activities as a writer, comedian, producer, musician, businessman-- in his appetites- all enormous- for food, women, friends, music. And he lives big- usually ahead of his income (the jackie gleason enterprises bring in three million dollars)-he has a soft and sentimental heart (his benevolences are many)- and he's a sad and lonely figure. This traces his life from a Brooklyn tenement to a Central Park duplex; the shabby family background-his father walked out and the circumstances of his mother's death are hard to forget; the early years in amateur acts, vaudeville houses, nightclubs, Hollywood where he flopped; the incompatible marriage to Genevieve- sweet, serious, and too saintly; the more recent love for Marilyn whom he cannot marry (he's a devout Roman Catholic)-- and now the time at the top as a leading television comic. Unhesitatingly candid, it adds up to a not always entertaining picture of the entertainment world- and one of its celebrities. Jim Bishop of course wrote The Day Lincoln Was Shot, so this can have a twin billing.