Charming show-biz memoir by the Backuses, with Jim (Mr. Magoo) and his wife Henny as alternate narrators. Once past the...

READ REVIEW

FORGIVE US OUR DIGRESSIONS: An Autobiography

Charming show-biz memoir by the Backuses, with Jim (Mr. Magoo) and his wife Henny as alternate narrators. Once past the opening chapters about golf, this is a stronger, more focused outing than the Backuses' last book, Backus Strikes Back (1984), which described Jim's bouts with depression and an illness misdiagnosed as Parkson's disease, later understood to be ""basal ganglion"" (a crossed circuit between brain and limbs). This present book (Jim writes in longhand, Henny types and edits), which has lively zip and glow, shows him on the mend. Backus early wanted to be a serious actor and was supported by his disbelieving father, who financed Jim's two years at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The A.A.D.A. dyed him through and through as an actor, but Backus later found that his diploma and five cents would buy him a nickel. He returned to the Midwest and various amusing jobs as a radio announcer, later fell in with famed comedian Ed Wynn. Ed was much taken with a character that Backus had invented and got him to focus on this basic Mr. Magoo mask rather than spread himself thin. Meanwhile, Jim had met and married Henny, a successful New York sculptress. Backus' years as a freelance Hollywood actor are richly amusing, as are his years of television servitude as comedienne Joan Davis' bumbling husband on I Married Joan and later as Thurston Howell on Gilligan's Island. Joan Davis is limned with particular force, as is James Dean, Backus' son in Rebel Without a Cause. Refreshingly shrewd and honest, and quite entertaining.

Pub Date: March 21, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988