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Wisdom of the `90s

Wisdom of the `90s

by George Burns, Hal Goldman

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At age 95, actor and humorist Burns, aided by amanuensis Goldman, delivers his ninth book in the same disarming style of its bestselling predecessors (his recording of Gracie: A Love Story won a 1990 Grammy). Again the veteran comic targets growing old: memory, eyesight and hearing all fail but they don't give up. An entertainer who wouldn't think of retiring, Burns knows that ``old-timers don't have to come in first; they get credit just for showing up.'' Anecdotes ranging from his vaudeville debut at age seven through his heyday on stage and screen display the wit and timing that still draw audiences. Poignant memories of his wife and showbiz partner, Gracie Allen, who died 28 years ago, combine with his recollections of Jack Benny and other pals. The performer whose motto might be ``never say die'' is scheduled to appear at the London Palladium Theater five years from now; delighted readers will bet on his making it. Photos. BOMC alternate; audio rights to Harper Audio. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Burns's latest finds the 95-year-old cigar-puffer as witty, if not quite as sharp, as ever. Burns has no complaints about his health, although since his last bestseller (All My Best Friends, 1989) he's had to have three dentists repair his bridge, has acquired a hearing aid, and has had a cataract removed. The comedian rambles this time out, with most of his humor turning on old age, forgetfulness, sex, doctors, his daily routine and bridge game at the "Club," dinner dates, stage and TV appearances (he now uses a chair after the first ten minutes), and jokes ("What kind of a nut loves to watch topless dancers? A chestnut"). He also writes of adjusting his humor to advancing age and keeping it appropriate (a fiasco on French TV had him touring three different Paris nightclubs, displaying performers' bare bosoms to the home audience—"Everyone makes mistakes"), tells some of his favorite funny stories (not jokes, but stories that might have happened), and comments on actors' insecurity and how he holds back his emotions in public ("maybe I hold back too much"). Burns also gives advice about money and marriage and some signs that old age may be creeping up, suggests that "If you really believe in something, don't let anyone talk you out of it," and advises, "Don't retire." He looks forward to his Hundredth Birthday appearance at the London Palladium—which is already booked. Gracious and rewarding—but not as strongly focused as his last two. Maybe Burns peaked at 94.... (Black & white photographs—not seen.)

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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