Perhaps now best known for her performance as Clara - the teacher who grew to love an ordinary butcher - in the legendary movie, Marty, this fascinating memoir by one of Hollywoods most elusive actresses was published to considerable acclaim inMorePerhaps now best known for her performance as Clara - the teacher who grew to love an ordinary butcher - in the legendary movie, Marty, this fascinating memoir by one of Hollywoods most elusive actresses was published to considerable acclaim in America last year.
Hailed as a work of touching honesty by Gavin Lambert in the LA Times, the books New York Times reviewer, film-maker James Toback, claimed I know of no other book, written from inside that mythical-historical Hollywood world, or from outside it, that comes close to so vivid an evocation of its mood. Aged sixteen, Betsy Blair was picked by Gene Kelly for a New York show, at an audition of six hundred girls.
Their work relationship led to marriage and Kellys soon-to-be-glittering career moved them both to Hollywood. We see Kelly work with Garland amongst other great stars. As MGM projects Betsy Blairs husband towards stardom, we witness their Saturday night parties (among the regulars: George Cukor, Vincente Minelli, Leonard Bernstein, Lena Horne, Noel Coward, even Greta Garbo): always observed from Miss Blairs wry, highly individual sense of what she felt mattered. Fur coats were for premieres only!Her growing political activism led her to the Communist Party - who rejected her - but caused the terrifying moment when she found herself black-listed.
This unique account of her sixteen-year marriage to a Hollywood legend shifts a gear, as the relationship falters. She wins the Golden Palm at Cannes and begins a new life as an expatriate in Paris where friends and party guests now include Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Marguerite Duras, and Luis Bunuel. The third strand in this remarkable memoir brings her to London and marriage to Karel Reisz. I never wanted to write a memoir about being married to a movie star.
I dont write in bitterness. How could I, when I lived the merry dance of our lives? Rather, Im writing to tell his children, and his four grandchildren...about the time of his life that I knew and how I got to be there-and what happened next. Miss Blair has written a special afterword for this English publication which brings her story finally, full-circle.