Charlotte Greenwood: The Life and Career of the Comic Star of Vaudeville, Radio and Film

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McFarland, Apr 11, 2007 - Performing Arts - 266 pages
Charlotte Greenwood never intended to become a comedienne, but she was unfashionably tall at 5' 10" and her early aspirations to become a great dramatic actress eventually led her to the field of comedy. Greenwood, whose early life had taught her nothing if not how to be optimistic, stifled her disappointment and used her considerable skill to become one of the greatest comedic actresses of the early twentieth century. Based on Greenwood’s unpublished memoirs, this biography presents a personal, detailed look at her colorful life. Beginning with her early years in Philadelphia, Boston and Norfolk, it relates her struggles with ill health, her social difficulties caused by her then unusual height and her realization of her ambition to become an actress. The main focus of the work is her career, which spanned more than 50 years and ranged from vaudeville to the dramatic stage and, finally, to films (during the World War II years she starred in Twentieth Century Fox musicals with Cesar Romero, Betty Grable, Edward Everett Horton, Jack Haley, Don Ameche, and Carmen Miranda). Her roles in a variety of works including The Passing Show of 1912, So Long Letty (both stage and film), and I Remember Mama are also discussed. Special emphasis is placed on her career-defining (and best-known) role as Aunt Eller Murphy in the 1955 film adaptation of Oklahoma! Charlotte Greenwood’s performance history, a list of her known recordings, and a filmography for her husband Martin Broones are also included, along with a collection of rare photographs and memorabilia.
 

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User Review  - knahs - LibraryThing

Well researched bio of actress Charlotte Greenwood. For those who know her from her role as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma or the high-kicking lady in the 1940's musicals - it was most interesting to hear of ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
5
I come from a long line of Philadelphia barbers
13
Illness and Abandonment
19
Near Death in Boston New Life in Virginia
23
Show people were my people
28
The White Cat
35
A Wayburn Girl
40
Two Girls and a Piano
47
To the Antipodes and back
150
Battle Drums
155
Zanuck and Stardust
160
Down Argentine Way
166
The Stars at War
174
Home in Indiana
183
Mrs Eddy
192
Doris Day
197

The Passing Show of 1912
52
The Birth of Letty
59
Love and War
67
Trotting Tintypes and the Music Box Revue
74
My darling
82
Mrs Martin Broones
91
Back to Hollywood
99
Life is just a circus
103
To London on the Santa Fe Express
109
Wild Violets
119
Toast of the West End
122
Charlotte Greenwood the actress
127
The Late Christopher Bean
132
Gay Deceivers
137
Lettys Last Dance
142
Out of This World
200
Oklahoma
211
She knew what she had and she knew who she was
217
Farewell Performance
223
Epilogue
228
Afterword
231
Greenwoods Performance History
233
Known Vocal Recordings of Greenwood
238
Known Piano Recordings of Martin Broones
239
Greenwoods Family Circle
241
Chapter Notes
243
Bibliography
249
Index
253
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Biographer Grant Hayter-Menzies lives in British Columbia. His works include biographies of Charlotte Greenwood, Princess Der Ling, Sarah Pike Conger, Pauline Benton, and Lillian Carter, along with the life of a dog, military mascot Rags of the First Division in World War I.

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