The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It

  • by Sharrie Williams, Bettie Youngs
  • Narrated by Kerrie Seymour
  • 14 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1915, when a kitchen stove fire singed his sister Mabel's lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed what she called "a secret of the harem" - mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and applying it to her lashes and brows. Mabel's simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle's imagination, and he started what would become a billion-dollar business, one that remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor.
Throughout the 20th century, the Maybelline company inflated, collapsed, endured, and thrived in tandem with the nation's upheavals, as did the family that nurtured it. Tom Lyle Williams - to avoid unwanted scrutiny of his private life - cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and ran his empire from the shadows. Now, after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the life of an American entrepreneur, a man forced to remain behind a mask, using his sister-in-law, Evelyn Boecher, to be his front.
This is an epic story and best-selling book. It is being considered for a four-part series made for television. To date the book has been translated into four languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Williams Family Saga and the Rise of Mabelline

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely, this is a very interesting story. It is the story of a self-made man and the role his family play in helping him build his/their business. It is fascinating to hear the historical details and how they affect the family and business. The Roaring 20s, Prohibition, Al Capone, World War II, Hollywood--all these events shaped both.


What did you like best about this story?

Both Tom Lyle and his sister-in-law Evelyn are determined and resourceful characters. It was fascinating to listen to their rises and their falls. With his burgeoning success, Tom becomes reclusive to hide his homosexuality. Evelyn is determined to be in the spotlight. Tom's life ends in death. Can Evelyn survive the con-men with designs on her life and wealth? This book has the feel of a well-written tell-all memoir of the rich and famous.


Have you listened to any of Kerrie Seymour’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but she gives an excellent performance for this book.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

How Money Destroyed A Family


Any additional comments?

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

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- pixledust "Because tales should be told."

So fascinating I looked at the products again

I very much enjoyed this book. It was a fascinating tale about an american company and a family with all the good and foibles of us all. The performance was understated, which allowed the content to shine on its own strength. I'd recommend this to anyone who is interested in family drama and american business history. While I looked at the products again I cannot purchase them due to the animal testing in which they practice.
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- leslie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-24-2015
  • Publisher: Bettie Youngs Book Publishers Co., Inc.