by Peter Turner ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 15, 1987
Gloria Grahame's greatest role turns out to be her own death scene as limned by her lover of several years standing, Peter Turner, a British actor half her age. Turner first met the eccentric Grahame in 1978, when both were living in the same rooming house outside London. Gloria, returning to the stage as Sadie Thompson in Rain, was known as a ""legendary floozie"" who had played opposite Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, and Glenn Ford; had worked for DeMille, Fritz Lang, and other great directors; and had won an Oscar for The Bad and the Beautiful. Her romance with Turner bloomed across two continents, with Gloria showing him about Hollywood and Manhattan. Then one morning, unbeknownst to Turner, Gloria found out she had stomach cancer and became so cool to him that he left for home in Liverpool. Later, Gloria showed up in Liverpool, asking Turner to care for her. The house he took her into, his family's, was a zany madhouse that grows only zanier as the book goes along. His mother, brother, and sister-in-law help him attend the dying film star. Gloria can't eat or drink, but refuses all medical help. Crisis towers upon crisis as the family swills a river of tea, the dog howls, the hired nurse knocks off a fifth of gin on her first (and only) night in the house, rages erupt, and two of Gloria's children arrive. ""Tim was Gloria's oldest child by her second husband, [film director] Nick Ray. Theirs was a complex relationship as Gloria's fourth husband, Tony, was also Tim's older half brother; they both had the same father. Gloria's fourth marriage therefore turned Tim's brother, Tony, into his stepfather, and his mother into his sister-in-law."" A well-paced gathering of eccentrics that mirrors Kaufman and Hart and stirs the heartstrings.
Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1987
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987
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