James J. Corbett: A Biography of the Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Popular Theater Headliner

Overview

When he died in 1933, James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett was honored by two distinguished groups of people: the professional boxing public, who celebrated him as America's greatest boxing champion, and the world of popular theater admirers, who revered him as one of Broadway's top vaudeville headliners. Corbett was uniquely instrumental in making boxing and popular theater both justifiable commercial enterprises, to be enjoyed by all classes of people. He became America's first national sports hero and went on to ...
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Overview

When he died in 1933, James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett was honored by two distinguished groups of people: the professional boxing public, who celebrated him as America's greatest boxing champion, and the world of popular theater admirers, who revered him as one of Broadway's top vaudeville headliners. Corbett was uniquely instrumental in making boxing and popular theater both justifiable commercial enterprises, to be enjoyed by all classes of people. He became America's first national sports hero and went on to formulate the theater world's star system.

This is the first definitive biography of the man who knocked out heavyweight champion John J. Sullivan, and who also knocked out audiences who flocked to see him in vaudeville and silent pictures. The focus herein is on the real man, the influences on his life, and the social and commercial environment within which he functioned. The author reveals that Corbett was a complex, driven, enigmatic man whose dedicated participation in popular entertainment changed American social values and mores, and at the same time reinvented the notion of a national hero.

Author Biography: Armond Fields of Culver City, California, is a social historian specializing in American popular theater. He is also the author of McFarland's Lillian Russell (1999, $42.50) and Eddie Foy (1999, $45).

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Corbett is largely remembered today as the hero of the fanciful Errol Flynn film Gentleman Jim, the man who, with his "scientific" boxing skills, won the title from the great John L. Sullivan in 1892. While champion until 1897, however, he already had theatrical aspirations. Turning to vaudeville, drama, and even early films, he remained a popular performer for years after his pugilistic days had ended and was a top vaudeville draw on Broadway. Fields (Eddy Foy; Lillian Russell) deftly weaves Corbett's outsized life into his era's entertainment history. Though the high price may discourage smaller libraries from purchasing this book, it is still a worthy choice. Recommended for sports and theater collections in larger public libraries. Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Lib., Tuscon Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Tells the rags-to-riches story of boxer and vaudevillian James Corbett. Corbett was instrumental in making boxing and popular theater justifiable commercial enterprises to be enjoyed by all classes of people. He became America's first national sports hero and went on to formulate the theater world's star system. Fields is a social historian specializing in American popular theater. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786409099
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2001
  • Pages: 265
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Armond Fields was a social historian specializing in American popular theater. The author of numerous books about vaudeville and other early theater figures, he lived in Culver City, California.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Hard Road to Respectability 5
2. Escapades In and Out of the Ring 15
3. The Road to Sullivan 35
4. Fight of the Century 53
5. The Irresolute Champion 67
6. Trial and Tribulation 88
7. On the Edge 111
8. Knock Down, Knock Out 129
9. Tour de Force 144
10. Men of Color 161
11. Multi-Media Headliner 176
12. A Man for All Occasions 196
13. Anything for the Money 213
Epilogue 227
Performance Chronology 235
Chapter Notes 243
Bibliography 247
Index 251
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