GINGER by Ginger Rogers

GINGER

My Story
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Serviceable autobiography of the dancer-comedienne-leading lady, now 80. Rogers does an always absorbing job of recreating her legendary career without ever quite capturing the voice we all remember from her films. As a young comedienne, she often gave a mischievous, sassy edge to her roles, coming on fast and smart. The woman who writes this book, however, has been a nondrinking, largely nonsmoking Christian Scientist all her adult life--not the opinionated, raspy personality the ``Ginger'' implies. Rogers has been the victim of husbands given to partying, drink, and philandering rather than a woman chasing her own satisfactions. Born Virginia McMath in Independence, Missouri, she was stage- struck early, winning dance contests and then joining the vaudeville circuits at 14; luckily, she had a wise mother who guided her professionally for much of her life while allowing Rogers to make her own mistakes romantically. They parted company briefly when, at 17, Rogers married Jack Culpepper, 29, who turned out to be a drunk. At 19, the performer was the toast of Broadway, starring in Florenz Ziegfeld's production of George and Ira Gershwin's Girl Crazy and off on a rocket that took her through 19 films before Flying Down to Rio teamed her with Fred Astaire. She doesn't mention her wit for stealing scenes in those earlier films but makes clear that she was an accomplished artist with strong film presence even before her teaming with Astaire. Rogers describes the making of each of the team's musicals, her hard times with director Mark Sandrich (Top Hat), love for George Stevens (Swing Time, her favorite--but really not the team's best film, which is Roberta). Marriage to her idol Lew Ayres dissolved after six years, an on-and-off romance with Cary Grant fizzled. Keeps you rapt, mostly. High point: the Oscar for Kitty Foyle. (Black-and-white photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1991
ISBN: 0-06-018308-X
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991