Only two years after her death, the exquisite Audrey Hepburn has already been the subject of several biographies; the second this year (after Warren G. Harris's Audrey Hepburn, p. 753) claims, not wholly convincingly, to be definitive. Certainly, no book on her life better expresses the nature of her grace and attraction than this one, by London Evening Standard film critic Walker (Fatal Charm, 1993, etc.), an astute judge of acting talent. Afflicted with a problematic childhood, Hepburn was traumatized by her parent's divorce when she was six. By managing to conceal much of her family history later, she avoided also being stigmatized by her father's work as a Nazi propagandist in England during the late 1930s and by her Dutch baroness mother's brief flirtation with fascism. Her father was something of a mystery man, and Walker adds to this sinister aura with some wildly unconvincing speculation on his possible Eurasian mixed-blood heritage. Walker is on firmer ground when he presents an admirably balanced picture of Audrey's painful experiences during the WW II occupation of the Netherlands and her minor efforts on behalf of the Resistance. In a dispassionate narrative, he traces her subsequent dance and film career, her sudden rise to stardom in Hollywood, her lengthy and troubled marriage to Mel Ferrer and briefer one to Dr. Andrea Dotti, her graceful withdrawal from film work, and her heroic efforts as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Walker's sympathy for his subject is manifest, but there is something vaguely superficial about his approach to her life, as evidenced by the type of canned social and artistic history that places the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde alongside the 1962 Children's Hour as examples of the new permissiveness in Hollywood. This intelligent but surprisingly bland recounting of Hepburn's life and career leaves readers wanting someone to delve a bit more deeply. (60 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 1995

ISBN: 0-312-11746-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1994

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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