The memory of all that: love and politics in New York, Hollywood, and Paris

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 341 pages
12 Reviews
In this enchanting memoir, Betsy Blair -- Academy Award-nominated actress and the wife of the great Hollywood dancer Gene Kelly -- tells her story: from teenage dancer in the late thirties, to child-bride of a Hollywood movie star in the forties and fifties, to accomplished actress working in Europe.

Sixteen-year-old Blair met then-choreographer Kelly while dancing professionally and was soon swept up in a whirlwind courtship -- he gave her a New York education, complete with Marxist study groups and trips to Harlem's Savoy Theater, before marrying her and whisking her off to Hollywood.

She writes about the great times they had as Kelly flew higher and higher among the MGM stars: their famous Saturday night parties, their version of charades, their legendary Sunday afternoon volleyball games. Betsy rejected the Hollywood pattern (no swimming pool or fancy car) and writes of being drawn to the Communist Party, of the coming of the blacklist that brought an end to the optimism of the thirties and forties, and of the terrifying moment when she found her own name on the list.

And she makes us understand why she ultimately burst out of the cocoon of her idyllic marriage -- moving to Europe and coming into her own as an actress, winning the Golden Palm at Cannes for Marty, and falling in love with and marrying the director Karel Reisz.

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Review: The Memory of All That: Love and Politics in New York, Hollywood, and Paris

User Review  - Celia - Goodreads

This was a very interesting book about Hollywood in the 40s. It's truly a biography so you don't get a whole picture but it's still interesting. Like most biographies, the author is pretty self ... Read full review

Review: The Memory of All That: Love and Politics in New York, Hollywood, and Paris

User Review  - Ashley - Goodreads

I have to admit to being a fan of old Hollywood memoirs and biographies, but this book is merely okay. I read it because of Betsy Blair's relationship to Gene Kelly (they were married for fifteen ... Read full review


Sydney Chaplin in California 1949 authors collection
Lee Gershwin with Oscar Levant Ira and Arthur Freed Photofest
With Ethel Barrymore and Maurice Evans in Kind Lady Photofest

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About the author (2003)

Betsy Blair was born in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. She was a child model, became a chorus dancer at fifteen, and appeared on Broadway in Panama Hattie and William Saroyan’s The Beautiful People. She was married to Gene Kelly for sixteen years and appeared in such plays as Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, as well as Sabrina Fair and The Rainmaker. She appeared in many motion pictures, including A Double Life, Kind Lady, The Snakepit, and Marty, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Betsy Blair lives in London.

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