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Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes

Overview

Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes is the first major biography of the effervescent, scene-stealing actress (1906-1979) who conquered motion pictures, vaudeville, Broadway, summer stock, television, and radio. Born the child of vaudevillians, she was on stage by age three. With her casual sex appeal, distinctive cello voice, megawatt smile, luminous saucer eyes, and flawless timing, she came into widespread fame in Warner Bros. musicals and comedies of the 1930s, including ...

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Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes

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Overview

Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes is the first major biography of the effervescent, scene-stealing actress (1906-1979) who conquered motion pictures, vaudeville, Broadway, summer stock, television, and radio. Born the child of vaudevillians, she was on stage by age three. With her casual sex appeal, distinctive cello voice, megawatt smile, luminous saucer eyes, and flawless timing, she came into widespread fame in Warner Bros. musicals and comedies of the 1930s, including Blonde Crazy, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade.

Frequent co-star to James Cagney, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart, friend to Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, and Bette Davis, and wife of Dick Powell and Mike Todd, Joan Blondell was a true Hollywood insider. By the time of her death, she had made nearly 100 films in a career that spanned over fifty years.

Privately, she was unerringly loving and generous, while her life was touched by financial, medical, and emotional upheavals. Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes is meticulously researched, expertly weaving the public and private, and features numerous interviews with family, friends, and colleagues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578069613
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Series: Hollywood Legends Series
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Kennedy teaches anthropology at the City College of San Francisco and film history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is the author of Marie Dressler: A Biography and Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory: Hollywood's Genius Bad Boy.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     3
The Next Town     10
Starlight     25
Hammer and Tongs     46
Nearer to Heaven     68
Freelancing     89
The Interrupted Family     104
Gulag-on-the-Hudson     130
Solo Rites     153
Love, Matey     179
I Hear Voices     204
Predestiny     227
Epilogue     240
Filmography     245
Stage Appearances     260
Radio Appearances     261
Television Appearances     262
Source Notes     265
Bibliography     284
Index     287
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Hunter

    Wheres everyone?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    A Superb Biography

    Matthew Kennedy has done an excellent job in bringing to life this lovely Hollywood star, who is largely unsung today for her superb performances in some great films and some not so great. He writes with great affection, but not uncritically, about her career and her life, with all its personal ups and downs. His research is superb and he makes the reader wish that he or she had had the chance to meet Miss Blondell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    A Revealing Biography of Screen Star/Trouper Joan Blondell

    Over many years, the public--let alone the film industry itself--took movie star Joan Blondell far too much for granted because she made her sassy performances look so easy. One could always count on Blondell to provide a jolt of needed energy to her many films of the early 1930s through the late 1970s, and in the 1930s her home studio (Warner Bros.) worked her constantly to bolster their product output. As this well-balanced biography of Blondell sharply details, the actress only belateldy realized the full degree of how much her career momentum suffered because she had been far too pliable to her studio's work demands. (Unlike such fellow Warner Bros. players as Bette Davis, Ruth Chatterton, and even generally compliant Kay Francis, Joan rarely balked at whatever screen project was tossed her way.) Author Matthew Kennedy points out in his well crafted narrative, how much Blondell ached for the type of film role (e.g. Aunt Sissy in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) that she rarely received and how this expert actress had to struggle to maintain her show biz career in her post stardom years. Paralleling Blondell's professional disappointments over the decades were her three unsatisfactory marriages - in each instance, she was the brunt of her husband's whims, selfishness, and inadequacies. As the author well illustrates in his narrative, the actress had more than her share of domestic tragedies, traumas, and difficulties. It is these revelations within this book that give this biography its dimension and special appeal to readers--whether they are well acquainted with Blondell the movie star, or are just coming to be aware of this talented star. The author had the cooperation of Blondell's family and others which doubtlessly provided him with additional data for his probing insights into this talented lady's lengthy life/career. A highly recommended read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    A Life Between Takes

    I just finished this wonderful, well written Joan Blondell biography and recommend it highly. A compelling story about a great actress of a 100 movies whose life was full of ups and downs. Joan is truly inspirational. She was one tough dame. A survivor with lots of class and humor, rare qualities in Hollywood today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    A Flesh-and-Blood Biography

    Kennedy has created a flesh-and-blood portrait of one of our most delightful screen actresses, in addtion to a poignant look at behind-the-scenes Hollywood

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