Young's charm, alcoholism, and the double-whammy ending should help this uninspired but competent book find readers.



The story of Gig Young, suave player of burned-out cases and a severely burned-out case himself; told smoothly by the author of bios of Ginger Rogers, Robert Mitchum, Mae West, and others.

Drawing on private tapes Young left behind, Eells works up an analysis that shows believably how, as a child, Young came to play a victim's role, and, as an adult, that of a well-mannered boob. When he could not find love from his repressed, neurasthenic mother or dour Scottish father back in St. Cloud, Minn., shy Byron Ellsworth Barr turned to his older sister Genevieve—a pattern of turning to women for help that followed him all his life. More than once, he heard that he'd resulted from a ``leak in the safe'' (faulty condom), and his father always introduced him as a "little dumbbell.'' In the late 30's, Young had one of the first vasectomies, and later in life found himself married but unmanned by alcohol or drugs. He was nominated for an Oscar three times, won at last for brilliantly playing a whiskey-throated dance-hall emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?. When things got tough he tried an LSD cure, or he'd go on the road with Harvey. But mental blanks bugged him; his attempt to play alcoholic Jamie Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night failed disastrously; Mel Brooks fired him from Blazing Saddles before he'd played his first scene. Physically and emotionally spent at 64, he married for the fourth time, to Kim Schmidt, an Australian script girl of 30, and then, apparently still impotent, shot her to death, then himself, three weeks after their marriage.

Young's charm, alcoholism, and the double-whammy ending should help this uninspired but competent book find readers.

Pub Date: July 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-15-130986-8

Page Count: 396

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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