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Girl Singer

A Memoir of the Girl Next Door

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At the top of her form and topping the charts, Rosemary Clooney looks back at a life of triumph and tragedy more dramatic than any work of fiction.

Rosemary Clooney made her first public appearance at the age of three, on the stage of the Russell Theater in her hometown of Maysville, Kentucky, singing, "When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver," an odd but perhaps prophetic choice for one so young. She has been singing ever since: on local radio; with Tony Pastor's orchestra; in big-box-office Hollywood films; at the Hollywood Bowl, the London Palladium, and Carnegie Hall ; on her own television series; and at venues large and small across the country and around the world. The list of Clooney's friends and intimates reads like a who's who of show business royalty: Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Tony Bennett, Janet Leigh, Humphrey Bogart, and Billie Holiday, to name just a few. She's known enormous professional triumphs and deep personal tragedies.

At the age of twenty-five, Clooney married the erudite and respected actor Jose Ferrer, sixteen years her senior and light-years more sophisticated. Trouble started almost immediately when, on her honeymoon, she discovered that he had already been unfaithful. Finally, after having five children while she almost single-handedly supported the entire family and endured Ferrer's numerous, unrepentant infidelities, she filed for divorce. From there her life spiraled downward into depression, addiction to various prescription drugs, and then, in 1968, a breakdown and hospitalization. After years spent fighting her way back to the top, Clooney is married to one of her first and long-lost loves- a true fairy tale with a happy ending. She's been nominated for four Grammys in six years and has two albums at the top of the Billboard charts. In the words of one of Stephen Sondheim's Follies showgirls, she could well be singing, triumphantly, "I'm still here!"

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

01 November 1999 – Clooney made her singing debut at age 13 on a Cincinnati radio station in 1941. By 1946, she and her younger sister Betty had both dropped out of high school to tour with the Tony Pastor Band. After three years on the road, she went solo and on the eve of her 21st birthday signed a contract with Columbia Records. Against her better judgment, she recorded "Come On-a My House" ("The lyrics ranged from incoherent to just plain silly. I thought the tune sounded more like a drunken chant than an historic folk art form") for Mitch Miller; it was such a success that she was able to parlay it into a movie contract with Paramount. Her marriage to actor-director Jose Ferrer produced five children (in as many years) and a high-profile, career-smashing nervous breakdown in 1968. But for Clooney, there was a happy ending: she was reunited with the love she had dumped 20 years before and her revived recording career brought her greater critical acclaim. Clooney told her story in 1977's This for Remembrance (with Raymond Strait), and while this retelling offers some new revelations (an affair with Nelson Riddle) and fresh assessments of contemporaries like Sinatra, Crosby and Billie Holiday, many sequences read almost exactly the same. Even with 20 years hindsight, most of the crucial events in her life remain hazy and questions unanswered: why she stayed with philandering Ferrer (let alone remarried him), what caused her breakdown and fueled her antagonistic relationship with her mother. Fans will probably enjoy this surface review of her career, but the woman remains an enigma.
Girl Singer
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  • 16,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biography
  • Published: 02 November 1999
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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