Final Gig: The Man Behind the Murder

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9780151309863: Final Gig: The Man Behind the Murder

George Eells has written biographies of Ginger Rogers, Robert Mitchum, Mae West, Ethel Merman and others. His biography of Cole Porter received a citation from The New York Times. This fascinating biography illuminates the enigmatic Gig Young, who played opposite Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck, won an Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don't They, and who killed his bride and himself in his final tragic act.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The story of Gig Young, suave player of burned-out cases and a severely burned-out case himself; told smoothly by the author of bios of Ginger Rogers, Robert Mitchum, Mae West, and others. Drawing on private tapes Young left behind, Eells works up an analysis that shows believably how, as a child, Young came to play a victim's role, and, as an adult, that of a well-mannered boob. When he could not find love from his repressed, neurasthenic mother or dour Scottish father back in St. Cloud, Minn., shy Byron Ellsworth Barr turned to his older sister Genevieve--a pattern of turning to women for help that followed him all his life. More than once, he heard that he'd resulted from a ``leak in the safe'' (faulty condom), and his father always introduced him as a ``little dumbbell.'' In the late 30's, Young had one of the first vasectomies, and later in life found himself married but unmanned by alcohol or drugs. He was nominated for an Oscar three times, won at last for brilliantly playing a whiskey-throated dance-hall emcee in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?. When things got tough he tried an LSD cure, or he'd go on the road with Harvey. But mental blanks bugged him; his attempt to play alcoholic Jamie Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night failed disastrously; Mel Brooks fired him from Blazing Saddles before he'd played his first scene. Physically and emotionally spent at 64, he married for the fourth time, to Kim Schmidt, an Australian script girl of 30, and then, apparently still impotent, shot her to death, then himself, three weeks after their marriage. Young's charm, alcoholism, and the double-whammy ending should help this uninspired but competent book find readers. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Eells ( Robert Mitchum , LJ 4/1/84) traces Oscar-winning actor Gig Young's tragic life and career, beginning with the day in 1978 when Young murdered his fifth wife and then committed suicide. Based on personal interviews with family and friends, as well as self-analytic tapes left by Young, the book paints a portrait of a neurotic, self-destructive man who never fulfilled the promise of his early career. Primarily known as a light comedic actor in the 1950s and 1960s until his stellar performance in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? , Young nonetheless remained a rather minor celebrity. His story may be tragic, particularly in its violent end, but the failed relationships and wasted opportunities are hardly unique. For only the most comprehensive film or popular collections.
- Barbara E. Kemp, Columbia Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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