Only Make Believe: My Life in Show Business

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Overview

This is the deliciously entertaining memoir by the coal miner's son who became an international star of stage, screen, and television. Keel speaks his mind about his many co-stars, including Judy Garland, Betty Hutton, Tammy Grimes and Katherine Greyson, to name a few.
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Overview

This is the deliciously entertaining memoir by the coal miner's son who became an international star of stage, screen, and television. Keel speaks his mind about his many co-stars, including Judy Garland, Betty Hutton, Tammy Grimes and Katherine Greyson, to name a few.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Completed shortly before his death last year at age 85, this autobiography traces Keel's journey from Illinois poverty to international stardom as a sort of Clark Gable of movie musicals. His singing could, as he puts it, "peel the paint off the walls." Employed as a WWII Douglas Aircraft supervisor, he took vocal training in Los Angeles, sang concert arias and arrived on Broadway in 1945, wowing audiences as Curly in Oklahoma!. Wider acclaim came with MGM musicals (including 1954's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), followed by touring productions, a club act, dinner theater and TV's Dallas. Keel has an arsenal of amusing anecdotes, but neither he nor mystery writer Spizer were able to bring verve to his prose. Kathryn Grayson and others Keel was close to are only lightly sketched and rarely spring to life. Why so few paragraphs about his lengthy affair with Marilyn Monroe? Even so, fans will be satisfied with this diary-like chronicle, despite its first-draft feel and narrative gaps. 16-page b&w photo insert not seen by PW. (Sept. 25) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569802922
  • Publisher: National Book Network
  • Publication date: 9/25/2005
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    I recently purchased this book. I couldn't put it down until I f

    I recently purchased this book. I couldn't put it down until I finished
    it. This is a book to get if you want a honest account of his life. He
    was very open about the events that shaped his life and career. This is
    the book to get if you want to read about "the real Howard Keel"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    Fascinating book about an amazing man

    I could not put this book down once I started it. It is written as though you and Mr. Keel are great friends talking over coffee. Howard shares the most candid details of his amazing life and the most amusing stories that had me laughing until I cried. It left me wishing that I had known him and certainly wishing that I had discovered his talent much sooner than I did. This book will fascinate readers whether you are a fan of Howard Keel or not. I highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005

    Fabulous Memoir

    Many times when you have a long wait for an autobiography, the result simply doesn¿t live up to the anticipation. Not so with Only Make Believe, I¿m happy to report. Howard Keel began his life as Harry Clifford Keel, the son of a Gillespie, Ill coal miner, on April 13, 1919. For anyone familiar with Mr. Keel¿s interviews, you will recognize his distinctive narration as he takes you though ups and downs of his life. And what a life it was. From an auditorium in Pasadena to Broadway and London¿s West End, the sound stages of MGM, the tent theaters of summer stock and the grassy meadows of Southfork Ranch, Mr. Keel¿s story will make you laugh, cry and keep you thoroughly entertained from start to finish. There is simply not a dull moment in this book. There are wonderful stories about the people we¿ve all grown up admiring and enjoying: Frank Sinatra, John Raitt, Mario Lanza, Anthony Quinn, John Wayne, Ben Hogan, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Barbara Bel Geddes, Prince Rainier and many, many others. But some of the best stories are of people you¿ve never heard of, great characters both in and out of the show business world. There are also stories about the theater itself, where glamour and glitter step aside for hard work and sheer guts. The closeness and camaraderie of an excellent cast and the pain of leaving them; difficult directors and inconsiderate audiences; working hurt, sick and numb from Novocain; mediocre parts taken just to pay the bills. All of this and more is covered, and through it fluently winds the thread of Mr. Keel¿s personal life as it goes from trouble and pain to, at last, great happiness. I could spend hours telling you how and why I enjoyed this book. Having read dozens of memoirs in the past few years, I have no doubt that this book is the single best I¿ve read. Simply put, it was a treat. I highly recommend it to not only fans of Mr. Keel, but to anyone who wants a taste of what real show business is without all the modern day Hollywood glamour and mega-bucks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2005

    Howard Keel is Not Make Believe

    The best autobiography that I have read about life in the entertainment world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    A wonderful memoir

    A frank and honest account of his life. The book is written as he spoke, so that as one reads the pages one feels he is sat there relating the story to you in person. A fascinating and sometimes very moving journey told with great humour. It will not only have you laughing out loud, but will also tug at your heartstrings. The book was so hard to put down, that I read it the weekend I received it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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