GEORGE S. KAUFMAN AND HIS FRIENDS by Scott Meredith

GEORGE S. KAUFMAN AND HIS FRIENDS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is not to be confused with -- or shrugged aside because of -- Teichmann's George S. Kaufman (1972) which some felt was merely a collectanea of his immortal and irresistible one-liners. Meredith's book is twice as long; it includes many of those witticisms as well as other material contained in the earlier memoir -- his long, sexually incompatible marriage to Beatrice; the Mary Astor affair in lavender; the games (poker, bridge, croquet); the phobias (Kaufman hated to be touched -- even shake hands); the ladies of the evening -- (someone called him a ""male nymphomaniac""). More than half of this account is spent with Kaufman's friends, producers, critics, directors and collaborators who with him helped to create an era of theater entertainment we may never see again: Edna Ferber -- more entertaining than you might think (she's the one who described the mechanics of their collaboration thus -- ""She did the typing, while Kaufman wandered hither, thither and von or draped himself over and under or around such pieces of defenseless furniture as happened to be in the room""); Harold Ross, the Marx Brothers, Gershwin, Moss Hart, Jed Harris (a mean, mean man); and other names ad sparkling infinitum. There's also a long play by play-back of all of Kaufinan's vehicles and miscellaneous other writing beginning with his pieces for FPA's Conning Tower, going on to the Times under Woollcott whom he described in a word -- ""improbable"" -- and finally Hollywood and TV. Meredith, the well-known agent, keeps this easily readable without ever permitting all those matchless bons mots to obscure the importance of the tall, gaunt, essentially shy and gentle knight of the Round Table.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday