The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography

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9780743404051: The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography

Not since David Niven wrote the bestselling The Moon's a Balloon and its sequel Bring on the Empty Horses has one of Hollywood's great stars written with such genuine wit and candor about

* what it was like to work in the movie factories where actors were pampered and coddled, yet expected to work without complaint for long, hard hours

* what it was like to be young and sexy and to be turned into an object of desire for millions of moviegoers

* what it was like to live in a world of almost total unreality, yet be expected to go about the business of finding a mate and raising a family, and avoiding personal scandal at all costs.

Now, for the hundreds of thousands of people who read and loved both of Niven's books, comes Esther Williams's wonderfully witty, fresh, and frank autobiography, all about an eighteen-year-old girl who reluctantly answers the siren call of MGM -- at the time, the most powerful and prestigious movie studio in the world -- and who soon finds herself launched on a career that will last more than twenty years, during which time she will help to create a genre of film that seems almost unimaginable today, yet which still holds all its original freshness and fascination, and who becomes during those years one of the world's top box office stars.

Williams calls MGM her "university," and the education she got there was one in how to project glamour and femininity, how to make yourself desirable while always, always playing the lady. No one who were through that university has ever written before with such absolute candor about what it was really like -- the affairs, the gossip, the tricks of the trade, the competition, the deals, the fights, and the methods the studios had for keeping their stars in line.

With a sharp mind and a rapier wit, Esther Williams brings to life those times and those bigger-than-life people, telling her stories with respect, yet with clear-eyed candor. Filled with behind-the-scenes gossip and tales of real life in a fantasy world, The Million Dollar Mermaid is the book legions of film fans have been waiting for.

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Review:

Her big movies are hard to find these days, and her name doesn't evoke the fan recognition awarded fellow MGM grads Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, yet for more than a decade during Hollywood's age d'or Esther Williams was one of the studio's most bankable leading ladies. An American beauty and swimming champ, she was hired at MGM in 1941 at age 18, and from then on starred in two or three thinly plotted "swimming musicals" a year--movies with titles like Neptune's Daughter, Million Dollar Mermaid, Easy to Love, and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Her inevitable role was the pinup you could pin up at home, and it seems to have reflected her offstage personality too. Her long (400 pages) memoir is not always a miracle of narrative, but it includes a wealth of juicy gossip: Louis B. Mayer's rolling-on-the-floor tantrums; Gene Kelly's verbal cruelty on the set of Take Me Out to the Ball Game; her three failed marriages, including a long, draining one to Fernando Lamas; Lana Turner's name for Mayer ("Daddy"); Johnny Weismuller's backstage pursuit of her (naked); her own heat for Victor Mature ("unleashed"); and the LSD she tried in 1959 on Cary Grant's recommendation. Like so many other as-told-to books, the memories often feel self-serving, and there are plywood sentences even Lana Turner would choke on delivering. Disappointingly, Williams rarely shares what went on behind her lowered eyes and those buoyant cheekbones. --Lyall Bush

About the Author:

Esther Williams retired from the screen since the 1960s, has continued to live in California where she runs a business that sells and promotes her own line of bathing suits, and licenses her name to swimming pools and swimwear. In addition, she was recently involved in the inauguration of synchronized swimming as a competitive event at the Olympics. She is married and lives in Beverly Hills.

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ESTHER WILLIAMS
Published by A HARVEST BOOK (2000)
ISBN 10: 074340405X ISBN 13: 9780743404051
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Book Description A HARVEST BOOK, 2000. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. Unsinkable by Debbie Reynolds Ginger: My Story Ginger: My Story by Ginger Rogers 'Tis Herself: An Autobiography 'Tis Herself: An Autobiography by Maureen O'Hara Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations Ava Gardner: The Secret by Peter Evans Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh Vivien: The Life of Vivien by Alexander Walker Audrey Hepburn Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland Get Happy: The Life of Judy by Gerald Clarke Considering Doris Day Considering Doris Day by Tom Santopietro Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing by Lee Server Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman Jane Fonda: The Private Life by Patricia Bosworth ADVERTISEMENT Overview Product Details Read an Excerpt Interviews & Essays Overview The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography by Esther Williams During Hollywood's heyday, big studios battled over the next box-office attraction. While Gene Kelly danced and Judy Garland sang, Esther Williams swam into the heart of America with her dazzling smile, stunning aquabatics, and whole-some appeal. Hand-picked for stardom by movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, Esther shed her wide-eyed innocence at what she affectionately calls University MGM, a unique educational institution where sex appeal and glamour were taught, a school where idols were born. Once a national swimming champion and struggling salesgirl, overnight she became one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. And though fame came quickly, Esther's personal life was often less than joyous. Through troubled marriages, cross-dressing lovers, financial bankruptcy, she shares the ups. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-1511933619087

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