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by Sam Irvin
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Arts & Literature
  • Author:
    Sam Irvin
  • ISBN:
    1439176531
  • ISBN13:
    978-1439176535
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Pages:
    432 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Arts & Literature
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1445 kb
  • ePUB format
    1391 kb
  • DJVU format
    1685 kb
  • Rating:
    4.6
  • Votes:
    993
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Wow! My book KAY THOMPSON: FROM FUNNY FACE TO ELOISE (Simon & Schuster) gets quite a plug in this article by Majorie Ingall in THE TABLET.

Wow! My book KAY THOMPSON: FROM FUNNY FACE TO ELOISE (Simon & Schuster) gets quite a plug in this article by Majorie Ingall in THE TABLET. Kay Thompson, Author of the Eloise Children’s Books, Had Lots of Secrets-Including Her Jewish Roots. Precocious children, fans of children’s literature, fashionistas, and anyone who loves celebrity gossip all need to skibble over to the New-York Historical Society to see Eloise at the Museum, which runs through Oct. 9. It’s full of nifty illustrations, fun memorabilia, and delicious dirt about.

Sam Irvin's book takes the reader through a kaleidoscopic tour of American show business from the 1920s through the 1970s . I'd seen Kay Thompson in Funny Face, I'd read two of the Eloise books, and wondered if that Kay Thompson were the same Kay Thompson.

Sam Irvin's book takes the reader through a kaleidoscopic tour of American show business from the 1920s through the 1970s, through an unlikely prism, the American singer, arranger, songwriter, choreographer and writer Kay Thompson. now that I've read this book (well, as soon as I saw the title!) that question was answered.

Xv, 416 . p. of plates : 25 cm. A tribute to the Hollywood uthor that covers such topics as her close friendship with Judy Garland, contributions as a celebrity trainer. A tribute to the Hollywood uthor that covers such topics as her close friendship with Judy Garland, contributions as a celebrity trainer, and creation of the mischievous six-year-old Plaza mascot, Eloise. Precocious grownup - Radio days. Think Fink : Kitty Fink becomes Kay Thompson (1909-1932) ; A face for radio : Thompson on the air (1933-1937) ; Hooray for what? : Broadway bound-and-gagged (1937-1942) - The MGM years

Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise. Kay Thompson - Sam Irvin. Like Eloise at The Plaza, Kay Thompson was a figment of the imagination.

Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise. Both were dreamed up by Kitty Fink as whimsical escapes from a mundane and sometimes painful childhood. Kitty’s father was Leo George Fink, born on January 12, 1874, in Vienna, Austria, the son of Mark Fink, a Jew from Norway, and Antoinette Antonie Steiner, a Christian from Vienna.

Kay Thompson’s larger-than-life story is an effervescent toast to show business with a shot of Auntie Mame and .

Kay Thompson’s larger-than-life story is an effervescent toast to show business with a shot of Auntie Mame and a twist of The Devil Wears Prada. A multi-threat entertainer and a world-class eccentric, Kay Thompson was the mentor/best friend of Judy Garland, the vocal guru for Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne, and the godmother/Svengali of Liza Minnelli (who recreated Thompson’s nightclub act in her 2009 Tony Award–winning event, Liza’s at the Palace).

Eloise is a series of children's books written in the 1950s by Kay Thompson (1909–1998) and illustrated by Hilary Knight (b. 1926). Thompson and Knight followed up Eloise (1955) with four sequels. Eloise is a young girl who lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" of the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her nanny, her pug dog, Weenie, and her turtle, Skipperdee.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise, by Sam Irvin, published in November 2010 by Simon & Schuster.

Most of her work for MGM has been preserved and released on Rhino/Turner Classic Movies original soundtrack series, including little-known contributions she did for films such as Meet the People (1944) and Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945). Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise, by Sam Irvin, published in November 2010 by Simon & Schuster.

Kay Thompsons larger-than-life story is an effervescent toast to show business with a shot of Auntie Mame and a twist of The Devil Wears Prada.

A multi-threat entertainer and a world-class eccentric, Kay Thompson was the mentor/best friend of Judy Garland, the vocal guru for Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne, and the godmother/Svengali of Liza Minnelli (who recreated Thompsons nightclub act in her 2009 Tony Awardwinning event, Lizas at the Palace).

She went to school with Tennessee Williams, auditioned for Henry Ford, got her first big break from Bing Crosby, trained Marilyn Monroe, channeled Elvis Presley, rejected Andy Warhol, rebuffed Federico Fellini, got fired by Howard Hughes, and snubbed Donald Trump.

She coached Bette Davis and Eleanor Roosevelt; she created nightclub acts for Marlene Dietrich and Ginger Rogers; and when Lucille Ball had to sing on Broadway, Kay was the wind beneath her wings, too.

Kays legion of fans included Queen Elizabeth of England, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco. Danny Kaye masqueraded in drag as her; Noël Coward and Cole Porter wrote musicals for her; and The Beatles wanted to hold her hand. She was a charter member of the Rat Pack, costarred in a whodunit with Ronald Reagan, and directed John F. Kennedys Inaugural Gala.

The dame cut a wide swath through the arts. After conquering radio in the 1930s she commandeered MGMs vocal department in the 1940s, where she revolutionized the studios greatest musicals with her audacious arrangements, from The Harvey Girls to Ziegfeld Follies.


In the 1950s she became the highest-paid cabaret attraction in the world with her groundbreaking act "Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers," featuring her young protégéand secret loverAndy Williams.

In a stunning feat of reinvention, Thompson next became the bestselling author of Eloise (first published by Simon & Schuster in 1955), chronicling the mischievous adventures of the six-year-old mascot of The Plaza, spawning an industry that is still going strong today.

Then Kay took the silver screen by storm as the "Think Pink!" fashion magazine editor in Funny Face, stealing the film right out from under Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.


The Thompson saga swells from small town wannabe to international headliner, dissolving into self-destruction and madnessthe storyline usually reserved for a rags-to-riches potboileryet with unexpected twists, outlandish turns, and a last-minute happy ending that, even by Hollywoods standards, is nothing short of preposterous. But that is Kay Thompson. Fascinating. Frustrating. Fabulous!


Vetibert
Has there ever been a better subject for a show business biography than the great Kay Thompson? Her career was packed with accomplishment and profoundly affected the biggest entertainment stories of the last century, yet she's criminally unheralded. And even her savvy fans and the fortunate few who knew and loved (or were driven mad by) her have been scratching their heads for years, trying to make sense of her baffling contradictions. She was the poster girl for authentic eccentricity.

One look at the hearty endorsements from the people who knew Kay Thompson best, and I knew the book would be legit. But I also feared it might prove to be an exercise in insider snobbery. I find that most bios disappoint; they're either too skimpy or rely on flame-fanning conjecture.

What a joy to discover that this thrill ride of a story has fallen into just the right hands. Sam Irvin's writing voice is pitch-perfect. It's quite clear that he has done exhaustive research, but the miracle is that he guides the reader through it with such elan. There's nothing dry about this book; it's a real page-turner packed with revelations on virtually every page. Absolutely no filler. It also abounds with rare photographs. It's an amazing accomplishment, and I highly recommend it.

P.S. Mr. Irvin has also done the impossible and produced a 3 CD companion collection of ultra-rare Thompson performances and productions (sold separately here on Amazon). How he gathered these treasures from asunder is quite beyond me. Bravo!
Goldendragon
Sam Irvin's book takes the reader through a kaleidoscopic tour of American show business from the 1920s through the 1970s, through an unlikely prism, the American singer, arranger, songwriter, choreographer and writer Kay Thompson. I ordered the book months ahead of time and when it came to my desk on publication day I sank right in and haven't been seen since.

Maybe the details of Thompson's career were known to many, but they were all new to me. Her appearances in two latter-day films, Stanley Donen's Funny Face and Otto Preminger's Junie Moon, were really all I knew her from, and yet she makes an indelible impression in both. But sort of freakish, right? If ever I thought Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli freakish, they now seem like the girls next door compared to the woman from whom, Irvin argues, they learned all about style and all about putting on a show.

Andy Williams' recent memoir told us a lot about Kay Thompson, who was his mentor as well, and also his girlfriend in a bizarre April-October romance. Irvin gives us all this and more, continually putting Thompson in larger and larger contexts, so that we see 1930s Broadway, 1940s MGM, 1950s Las Vegas and so on as different theaters in which Thompson, apparently, always triumphed. Sam Irvin never met Thompson, and there's a certain distance in his narration, perhaps reflected in the sort of anti-chronological arrangement of the biography, in which different aspects of Thompson's life appear not as she lived them, but as Irvin thinks it wisest to narrate, so we learn about Kay's involvement with Andy Williams in the chapter after she writes Eloise. Not sure exactly what that's about, but maybe it has something to do with the gradual picture Irvin builds up of a talented woman who was ruined by her own success, a megalomaniac who ran roughshod over the lesser and weaker.

After seeing what she did, or tried to do, to the little girl selected to play Eloise in a TV adaptation of her children's book, you can't help but hate her! And yet on the other hand, she seems genuinely anguished by her work being ruined by commercial TV. So you sympathize with her.

I can't understand, and Irvin doesn't give many clues, about why Thompson didn't take up more of the offers made to her in the wake of her success in Funny Face. He tells us of literally dozens of projects that Thompson worked on that she never brought to pass, and most of them will leave Thompson fans salivating with frustration. How about "Who is Sylvia?" a planned movie musical version of Irene Dunne's screwball comedy Theodora Goes Wild, which Thompson and Roger Edens planned as a vehicle for Doris Day! Doris Day and Glenn Ford and Kay Thompson! Oddest detail, Kim Novak was supposed to appear in the movie as herself! (Smalltown girl Doris Day writes a steamy novel about her hometown which is made into a movie starring Novak as the heroine.) Once I learned how close I came to utter movie heaven, in 1958, I shut the book and burst into tears.

Keep riding the book out to the end and you will find yourself, as I did, with a grudging admiration for Kay Thompson. She was horrible but she was different, and her last days were stranger than Grey Gardens. If the recent bio of Vincente Minnelli gave us a mean little, nasty and vacant Liza, this book makes her seem almost literally like an angel of kindness toward a woman (Thompson was her godmother) who took away from her nearly as much as she gave. Liza deserves a special award, maybe a Nobel prize for thoughtfulness, do they have such a thing? Read this book, you'll believe they should. One of my favorite books this year.
Xaluenk
I'd seen Kay Thompson in Funny Face, I'd read two of the Eloise books, and wondered if that Kay Thompson were the same Kay Thompson ... now that I've read this book (well, as soon as I saw the title!) that question was answered.

Quite simply this is one of the best biographries I've read, in terms of style and engagement. It was long and meaty, rich and flavourful (please forgive the food adjectives) ... the experience of reading it felt like reading a novel (in terms of getting involved with the characters) without any funny business like imagined conversations and suchlike ... it was erudite, well-researched, and very, very pleasant to read. I cried at the end, what more could I want?

Very highly recommended indeed.
Nidor
I absolutely could not put this wonderfully insightful and fascinating book down! It is filled with all sorts of great Hollywood insider stories and tales of a woman who could do it all and never really got the star status and accolades that she so richly deserved. Kay Thompson was a force to be reckoned with on stage and off. I can't help thinking what a huge star she would have been in the movies had she accepted more of the film roles that she was offered but never accepted. The author really gets to the heart of what drove Miss Thompson throughout her life and how much she nurtured and helped other stars become legends. Her major turn in the classic movie Funny Face proves that she could not only hold her own in a movie with major stars but she could steal it from them with her wonderful personality and sheer talent. I think she was one of the first triple threats of her time as far as being an actor, singer and a dancer and she did it all with such ease and great flair. After reading this book I wish I had known Kay Thompson - she was definitely one of a kind.
Beranyle
A loving tribute to one of the most influential people of 20th century pop culture. Kay Thompson's influence is still felt in music, fashion and literature.
mr.Mine
A pioneer in pants! I had no idea what a far-reaching effect Kay Thompson had on popular culture. This delightful book was a revelation. And you will be forced to watch "Funny Face" again so you can see it with new eyes, read "Eloise" with a new understanding, and...and...oh, if you're the kind of person who watches a snippet of old musicals when trolling with the remote, you will love Kay Thompson.