My Life in Three Acts

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9780151636952: My Life in Three Acts

The legendary star of stage and screen reflects on her life and career. With wit, wisdom and candor, Hayes introduces us to the extraordinary cast of characters she has known throughout her long life and career. 2 cassettes.

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From AudioFile:

The "First Lady of the American Theater" looks back on a distinguished career, a mostly happy family life and legions of celebrity friendships.She includes her appraisals of contemporary theater, the Hollywood scene and television. The ideal reader for these memoirs would, of course, have been Hayes herself. She did in fact do the 1990 abridgment, but as she died at age 93, her adopted son, actor James MacArthur, does the honors. It's not a wholly successful substitution. "I" is now a male voice; "mother and I" are not James and Helen, but Helen and her mother; and James reads about himself in the third person. Adding to the mild confusion is the absence of well-timed pauses to delineate shifts in time or location. Still, MacArthur reads with warmth and affection, the spirit in which the book was written and the life lived. J.B.G. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

From Library Journal:

Hayes has already written on growing old-- Our Best Years (coauthored with Marion Gladney; LJ 7/84)--and with Thomas Chastain, she has authored a mystery. Now at the age of 89, she looks back on her 80 years in the theater. Debuting on Broadway in 1909, she was a well-known actress by the age of 20 and the "first lady" of the American theater since the 1930s. She is candid, but does not dwell on the difficulties of her marriage to playwright Charles MacArthur, whose drinking problem increased after the death of their young daughter from polio. Obviously more comfortable talking abut others than herself, she of fers many delightful anecdotes about such friends as Ruth Gordon, Lillian Gish, and Bea Lillie. Belying her goody-goody persona, her comments on people she has known and worked with are often pointed. Her reflections seem cursory, however. One wishes for more depth, more detail; still her many admirers will want to read this.
- Marcia L. Perry, Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield, Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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