Hollywood Mother of the Year: Sheila MacRae's Own Story

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9781559721127: Hollywood Mother of the Year: Sheila MacRae's Own Story

The television star and wife of Gordon MacRae reveals how she overcame her tragically destructive marriage to, among other things, win a spot on the Honeymooner's and launch her own talk show.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

MacRae tells of life with her glamorous husband, the alcoholic singer/gambler Gordon. Sheila and Gordon, who married young, were known for years as ``The Malted Milk Kids'' because of their clean living. A relative of famed actress Madame Sarah Siddons (in All About Eve, cunning Anne Baxter receives ``the Sarah Siddons award'') and renowned Shakespearean John Philip Kemble, Sheila gave up a promising acting career when she married Gordon and gave birth to four children. Gordon thought himself the world's greatest singer but turned down a career in grand opera to triumph in musicals, his greatest role being Curly in Oklahoma. Somewhere along the line, he picked up a drink, took to gambling, made nuttily huge bets on the turn of a card, and brought down the IRS on his and Sheila's heads. Bit by bit, Gordon fell apart. Sheila joined him in a lounge act but often had to go on alone or call in a celebrity replacement. At last, on the advice of Lucille Ball, Sheila separated from Gordon but for five more years could not commit herself to divorce. She found herself being talked into bed by JFK and later LBJ, and refused on both occasions, but apparently did become lovers for a long period with Frank Sinatra, who wanted to marry her, and with an anonymous ``Jewish Prince of Comedy.'' Meanwhile, Gordon tried AA, dropped out, but nonetheless wound up on the National Council on Alcoholism while maintaining--even on his deathbed--that he wasn't an alcoholic. Sheila went on to become the last Alice Kramden when Jackie's Gleason's Honeymooners became a TV musical series. Familiar but readable operatics among the supertalented and well paid as Sheila, here writing with veteran Jeffers (Who Killed Precious?, 1991, etc.) seeks her identity. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this disjointed and poorly written book, coauthored with freelancer Jeffers, MacRae purports to tell about her life with and without her husband Gordon MacRae, the late singing star of Oklahoma!, Carousel and other 1950s films. His voice earned them a fortune, while she took care of their home and their four children. But in 1960, when she was named Hollywood Mother of the Year, she left him, as his drinking and gambling were ruining his career. On her own, she bacame a popular nightclub and TV performer, and took many lovers--among them Frank Sinatra, Bob Fosse and the unidentified "JP," a "Jewish prince of comedy." The long list of men she says she turned down includes Henry Fonda, Lyndon Johnson and Rod Steiger. MacRae strikes a gratuitously spiteful tone about certain celebrities: Grace Kelly wasn't beautiful, Doris Day couldn't sing well, etc. The book is likely to appeal only to the most avid devotees of gossip. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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MacRae, Sheila; Jeffers, H. Paul
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