River of No Return: Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved

River of No Return: Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved

by Jeffrey Buckner Ford, Jeffery Buckner Ford
     
 

In 1942 Ernest Jennings Ford married nineteen-year-old Betty Jean Heminger, whom he had met at Victorville Army Air Base in California. 'River of No Return: Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved' is the recounting of their life together, of Ernie's spectacular success as an entertainer, of their growing spiral of self-destruction as his career flourished,

Overview

In 1942 Ernest Jennings Ford married nineteen-year-old Betty Jean Heminger, whom he had met at Victorville Army Air Base in California. 'River of No Return: Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved' is the recounting of their life together, of Ernie's spectacular success as an entertainer, of their growing spiral of self-destruction as his career flourished, and of their two sons' despair as they watched the light slowly fade from their parents' eyes and the joy vanish from their lives. For Betty it was vodka, valium, and tranquilizers. For Ernie, it was beer for breakfast, Cutty for lunch at the club, and whatever later in the day. In 'River of No Return' their son Jeffery remembers when his family's joy of being together was infectious, when the promise of every day and the thrill of being at the center of the spotlight was rapturous. It was a time when the name Ernie Ford was in the air and his fame worldwide.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

"Ernie Ford was never known for having a passion to succeed," his son deadpans in this masterfully rendered biography of the entertainer, best known for his song "Sixteen Tons," whose lifelong alcoholism and chronic depression drove himself and his first wife to their deaths. Ambition notwithstanding, Tennessee Ernie Ford possessed a winning combination of talent and luck that made him one of the biggest stars in the country, with numerous Top Ten hits and, at the height of his popularity, a weekly television show watched by millions. The younger Ford gives readers an in-depth look behind the curtain, painting a multilayered portrait of the man who hid his pain behind a salt-of-the-earth Everyman pose. The heart of the book is Ford's doomed relationship with his first wife Betty, who would, after more than 40 years of marriage, take her own life. Though storm clouds continually threaten, the Fords' life wasn't all dark; Ford includes colorful anecdotes featuring celebrities like Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope, their neighbor, as well as happy family memories like Disneyland on opening day. Though Ernie recorded hundreds of songs, Ford keeps his dad's career manageable with broad strokes, delving into minutiae only when the topic turns to mega-hit "Sixteen Tons" and the beginning of his gospel period. Ford's ability to stay both honest and impartial make this a compulsively readable story, and a fine model for celebrity bios to come. Even readers unfamiliar with Ford's massive body of work will find the drama, pain and success that marked his life fascinating.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781581826531
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
05/28/2008
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Buckner Ford is the eldest son of Ernie and Betty Ford. He is an actor, writer, and voice-over artist with more than twenty feature films and hundreds of radio and television commercials to his credit. Today he manages Tennessee Ernie Ford Enterprises and works as a multimedia writer and producer. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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