Helen Hayes, acclaimed "First Lady of the American Theatre", has been on stage, screen, and television for more than fifty years. In that time she moved among the world's most famous and talented: actors, film stars, writers, businessmen. She speaks with wit, wisdom, and candor on topics both public and private. She offers deft behind-the-scenes portraits of such personalities as Joan Crawford, William Randolph Hearst, Charlie Chaplin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Richard Burton, Lillian Gish, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Gloria Swanson. She tells of the advice older actors gave her and of how she in turn gave advice, continuing the tradition. She treats us to delightful anecdotes about Ethel Barrymore, John Ford, and Al Capone. At the same time, she reflects more seriously, and with great honesty, on the painful parts of her life: the alcoholism of those close to her; the guilt of having not spent more time with her young children; the remorse about the fact that her success overshadowed her playwright-screenwriter husband, Charles MacArthur; the difficulty of being alone after the deaths of her daughter and husband. She tells about the pleasures and discomforts that go with being a celebrity, about her retirement in Mexico, about her sense of responsibility to support causes, to help others. And, finally, she expresses her strong views on what is wrong with the American theatre today and what has always been wrong with Hollywood. An engrossing account of a rich and productive life.
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A Modest Yet Captivating Portrait Of A Great Lady
- Jody R. Nathan