THE JOKER IS WILD by Art E. Cohn

THE JOKER IS WILD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A biography of Joe E. Lewis is loving but firm with its subject and gives you the Jewish boy whose luck got an assist from his determination, whose bad luck never floored him, who was not made bitter by body blows and physical handicaps. His name as an entertainer started in Chicago in the 20's where he was the mobsters comic -- and their darling who was alto their target -- to the tune of severed vocal cords and a slashed face when rival gangs claimed him. The come-back fight was tough, with impaired delivery and a scarred face, New York Was cold, but perseverance did it and he climbed from the tawdry traps to nightclubs, winning a solid audience with his routines, songs, wit and insults, tossing fast ones with socialites, dignitaries, VIPs. There were gals, there was drinking and gambling -- and later the horses; there was troop entertainment in the Pacific (with whiskey); there was a marriage which did not stick; and there was increasing sickness, which the little guy fought to hide but which caught up with him. And he pulled through that to wow them again the country over. So this is the fast talking, pebble voiced, hard and soft Joe in untouched portrayal, for all his Main Stem admirers.

Publisher: Random House