Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman : A Life

4.01 (99 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"Kellow's chronology is dishy and seamless; he understands the dynamics of the theater world and makes you feel the exhilaration of an evolving hit and the frustrations inherent in working with a performer like Merman."--The New York Times Book Review

"[Kellow] has painted a vivid portrait of a Broadway diva who shone brighter and sang louder than anyone else."--The Washington Post BookWorld More than twenty years after her death, Ethel Merman continues to set the standard for American musical theater. The stories about the supremely talented, famously strong-willed, fearsomely blunt, and terrifyingly exacting woman are stuff of legend. But who was Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, really? Brian Kellow's definitive biography of the great Merman is superb, and the first account to examine both the artist and the woman with as much critical rigor as empathy. Through dozens of interviews with her colleagues, friends, and family members, Kellow (author of Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood's First Superagent) traces the arc of her life and her thirty-year singing career to reveal many surprising facts about Broadway's biggest star.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 326 pages
  • 138 x 212 x 24mm | 322.05g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Plates, black and white; Frontispiece
  • 0143114204
  • 9780143114208
  • 1,026,009

Review quote

"Kellow's chronology is dishy and seamless; he understands the dynamics of the theater world and makes you feel the exhilaration of an evolving hit and the frustrations inherent in working with a performer like Merman."
--The New York Times Book Review "[Kellow] has painted a vivid portrait of a Broadway diva who shone brighter and sang louder than anyone else."
--The Washington Post BookWorld "Detailed and perceptive"
--The Atlantic Monthly "Finally, an up-close and personal Merman who is a whole person. Thanks to this compelling biography, I finally understand how Merman truly defined what was and wasn't worthy of Broadway. Don't miss this one."
--OutSmart "Once you start reading you'll find it difficult to put down."
--Talkin' Broadway "If I had to pick one book to read, it would probably be Kellow's. . . . Kellow, meanwhile, manages to paint a much more vivid portrait of Merman as a Broadway icon, mother and wife four times over. . . . While Kellow still has admiration for his subject, he dishes on the Diva. It's a much more enjoyable read and its lighthearted tone is much more in keeping with the musical comedies for which La Merm is best known."
--Misha Davenport, Chicago Sun-Times "Kellow nimbly sidesteps the booby traps other writers have hit while writing about Ethel Merman. Though he gives her temperament its due, he admirably avoids overloading his account with tales of a sometime-outrageous diva. . . . Kellow displays a keen sense of how and why Merman worked, and his profile of her personal life is an aching refrain worthy of the musical Follies."
--Kirkus Reviews "A wonderfully vivid portrait of a unique Broadway star. You can almost hear Merman's trumpet voice with every turn of the page."
--John Kander, composer of Chicago and Cabaret "In Ethel Merman: A Life, Brian Kellow paints a portrait of Ethel the larger-than-life Broadway star, and Ethel the woman, emotionally crippled offstage by personal tragedy. This book is engrossing, emotional, and entertaining."
--Marin Mazzie "Thank you, Brian! I am so grateful to you for giving us the human Merman. She has been so often satirized, sent up, and imitated that it is wonderful to have a lucid portrait of her inimitable career. She lived and worked the whole history of Broadway. It's about time she rates this loving and truthful tribute."
--Tyne Daly "Ethel Merman was unique, and so is this book. A fascinating read and a thorough theatrical history of her time. Loved it!!"
--Jane Powell
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About Brian Kellow

Brian Kellow is the author of Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood's First Superagent; Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark; The Bennetts: An Acting Family and the coauthor of Can't Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Observer, Opera, and other publications. Kellow lives in New York City.
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Rating details

99 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 29% (29)
4 46% (46)
3 20% (20)
2 4% (4)
1 0% (0)
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