BREATHING OUT by Peggy Lipton


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Predictable memory-tripping by the erstwhile star of Mod Squad.

Lipton, famous for her role as Julie Barnes in Mod Squad, describes a childhood filled with secrets: no one talked about her grandfather’s mistress, a black maid; or the baby who died when a nurse dropped him; or the possible suicide of an uncle; or the abuse Lipton sustained at the hands of her aunt’s husband. But Lipton rose above all these tangles to become a model and actress, starting out with small bit parts, then becoming a household name in Mod Squad. She recounts a heart-wrenching affair with Paul McCartney and a fling with Elvis Presley. Finally, she meets the love of her life, Grammy-winner Quincy Jones. Withstanding criticism from a public uncomfortable with an interracial union, Jones and Lipton married in 1974. They had two children, and Lipton threw herself into motherhood, giving up acting completely. Then, in the mid 1980s, the marriage fell apart. Lipton’s description of the end seems coyly incomplete: the divorce seems to come out of the blue, and Lipton explains only that she “needed spiritual guidance from within” and that “though the karmic cord wouldn’t be cut for years,” the “fourteen-year cycle” of marriage and child-rearing with Jones was over. After leaving him, Lipton returned to acting. Her descriptions of the post-marriage, post-Mod Squad phase of her career are the strongest sections here. The chapter on Twin Peaks, the David Lynch television show with Lipton playing Norma Jennings, is fascinating and passionate. It reads with an immediacy and vigor that much of the rest lacks. Indeed, Lipton leans too often on tired, unimaginative prose (Her “daughters. . . will always be there” for her, “Losing a sibling is devastating”).

People who love star autobiographies will no doubt find this satisfying, though younger readers, who’ve never heard of Mod Squad, are unlikely to pick it up.

Pub Date: May 9th, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-32413-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2005


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