Friday, March 4, 2011

Maybe I am missing something?

I have been reading a biography of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott.  It came across my radar when I read a review which gave it high marks.  (For another opinion, read this review of American Rose in the NY Times, which points out the book's flaws.  I should have read it instead of the book.)

Growing up in the 50's I had heard about the stripper who never bared it all (not true if you read between the lines in the book).  I had seen her on talk shows and remember her as being rather 'bawdy'.

I have never seen the movie 'Gypsy', primarily because I do not like Rosalind Russell.  Reading the book I can certainly see how she was chosen to play the obnoxious stage mother.  One comment in the book about her is that 'her river did not run to the sea'.  She was a force to be reckoned with and not above doing anything immoral or illegal, or so it seems.

Interesting also that they cast petite Natalie Wood to play the 5' 9 1/5 " Gypsy, also.  Makes me think Hollywood wanted to make like Gypsy was America's sweetheart of the Depression?

So, I am reading this story and thinking 'What a whack job'.  Her and her whole family.  I can find nothing redeeming here about anyone.  Her own sister, actress June Havoc, told the author that 'Gypsy had no shame'.

I discovered online that CBS did a tribute to her for what would have been her 100th birthday.  They interviewed her son, Erik Preminger.  I cannot print the comment from his father, Otto, as this is a G-rated blog.

But the thing that stands out in my mind reading this is that stage mothers in the 1910s and 20s exploited their children much like stage mothers do today.  The only difference being that now we can see all of this happening in real time, Twitter about it, post it on YouTube, whatever.  It is truly sad, IMHO.

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