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Jam-packed with many funny, goofy footnotes, this passionately written biography will do much to bring Patrick the...

An idiosyncratic, much-needed biography of “a woman before her time.”

Screenwriter and genre film producer O’Meara’s first book is an engaging chronicle of Milicent Patrick (1915-1998), a woman trailblazer in the film industry, as well as the personal story of O’Meara’s own, not always pleasant, experiences in the industry. As the enthusiastic author writes, in 2018, Patrick is “still the only woman to have designed an iconic movie monster.” Yet “she’s not just the queen of monsters, the goddam Joan of Arc.” O’Meara set out on a nearly three-year journey to piece together the life of this largely unrecognized artist. Mildred Elisabeth Fulvia Rossi was born in El Paso, Texas. When she was 6, her father, Camille, was hired to be the on-site superintendent of construction for the William Randolph Hearst estate, and Patrick spent 10 wonderful years as “Alice in Wonderland.” Years later, she changed her name in honor of Hearst’s wife, Millicent (Patrick left out the second “l”). In 1935, she began her study of illustration and drawing at the Chouinard Art Institute. In 1938, “her work caught the eye of Walt Disney,” and she joined his studio, working on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Dumbo. Patrick did some bit acting and modeling before getting a big break in 1952, when she was the first woman hired by Bud Westmore for his famous special effects makeup department at the male-dominated Universal Studios. After designing monsters for some science-fiction movies, she took on her most famous design, Gill-Man, for the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, “still one of the best designed and recognizable movie monsters in Hollywood history.” She never received any on-screen credit, and a highly successful tour she did promoting the film got her fired by a jealous Westmore.

Jam-packed with many funny, goofy footnotes, this passionately written biography will do much to bring Patrick the recognition she deserves.

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-335-93780-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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