Legendary film star Ginger Rogers recounts her rise to international fame as the dancing partner of Fred Astaire and as an actress in such movies as "Top Hat" and "Swing Time," providing an insider's view of Hollywood's golden age. (Biography).
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Serviceable autobiography of the dancer-comedienne-leading lady, now 80. Rogers does an always absorbing job of recreating her legendary career without ever quite capturing the voice we all remember from her films. As a young comedienne, she often gave a mischievous, sassy edge to her roles, coming on fast and smart. The woman who writes this book, however, has been a nondrinking, largely nonsmoking Christian Scientist all her adult life--not the opinionated, raspy personality the ``Ginger'' implies. Rogers has been the victim of husbands given to partying, drink, and philandering rather than a woman chasing her own satisfactions. Born Virginia McMath in Independence, Missouri, she was stage- struck early, winning dance contests and then joining the vaudeville circuits at 14; luckily, she had a wise mother who guided her professionally for much of her life while allowing Rogers to make her own mistakes romantically. They parted company briefly when, at 17, Rogers married Jack Culpepper, 29, who turned out to be a drunk. At 19, the performer was the toast of Broadway, starring in Florenz Ziegfeld's production of George and Ira Gershwin's Girl Crazy and off on a rocket that took her through 19 films before Flying Down to Rio teamed her with Fred Astaire. She doesn't mention her wit for stealing scenes in those earlier films but makes clear that she was an accomplished artist with strong film presence even before her teaming with Astaire. Rogers describes the making of each of the team's musicals, her hard times with director Mark Sandrich (Top Hat), love for George Stevens (Swing Time, her favorite--but really not the team's best film, which is Roberta). Marriage to her idol Lew Ayres dissolved after six years, an on-and-off romance with Cary Grant fizzled. Keeps you rapt, mostly. High point: the Oscar for Kitty Foyle. (Black-and-white photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Winning a dance contest in Texas launched the 14-year-old Virginia Katherine McMath on her acting career and eventful personal life, episodes, emotions and dialogue from which she recreates here in exhaustive detail. Now 79, this devout Christian Scientist recalls her early vaudeville days in a determinedly upbeat tone, as well as her stage and film hits, including the 10 musicals-- Top Hat , Swing Time , etc.--in which she and Fred Astaire co-starred. Also discussed is Rogers's Oscar-winning Kitty Foyle and acclaimed roles in Hello Dolly and Mame . The author brightens an uninspired narrative style with backstage and Hollywood anecdotes and names, and tells of her five husbands--and of her romances with the likes of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Howard Hughes. She also encountered political figures--from U.S. presidents to the shah of Iran and Juan Peron. Recommended for fans who cherish every scrap of trivia about their idol. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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