My First Hundred Years in Show Business: A Memoir
The unabashedly funny and forthright memoir by the Tony Award winner for Grey Gardens, detailing the singular life and career of one of our most admired and acclaimed stage actorsMary Louise Wilson became a star at age sixty with her smash one-woman play Full Gallop portraying legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. But before and since, her life and her career―including the Tony Award for her portrayal of Big Edie in Grey Gardens―have been enviably celebrated and varied.
Raised in New Orleans with a social climbing, alcoholic mother, Mary Louise moved to New York City in the late 1950s; lived with her gay brother in the Village; entered the nightclub scene in a legendary review; and rubbed shoulders with every famous person of that era and since. My First Hundred Years in Show Business gets it all down. Yet as delicious as the anecdotes are, the heart of this book is in its unblinkingly honest depiction of the life of a working actor. In her inimitable voice―wry, admirably unsentimental, mordantly funny―Mary Louise Wilson has crafted a work that is at once a teeming social history of the New York theatre scene and a thoroughly revealing, superbly entertaining memoir of the life of an extraordinary woman and actor. 24 b&w photographs
“Thank you MLW for writing this book, if only to confirm for me hi diddly de de the actor’s life for me―a life as full of heartache, waiting, and disappointment as it is, for us all, an absolute delight. Learning that it would be the same for the great Mary Louise Wilson is a relief. And for those not in show biz...get ready to read some truth!” - Melissa Leo, Academy Award-winning actor“Mary Louise Wilson’s writing is like her acting―deft, droll, and full of surprises. Her book is a riot of characters met and characters played, of dreams dashed and dreams fulfilled―a funny, frank, and savvy chronicle of a wonderful life, in the theatre and beyond.” - David Hyde Pierce, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor“A fascinating read from one of our greatest comic actresses.” - Bernadette Peters, Tony Award-winning actor“MY FIRST HUNDRED YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS is a sharp and brazenly authentic meditation on the elusiveness of fame and the determination one needs to "just charge ahead" amidst the uncertainty of making it in show business.” - Broadwayworld.com“Here it is, the dishiest, funniest, chattiest, and most soul-baring theater book of the year. Tony winner Mary Louise Wilson -- forever dubbed "the best thing in it" in review after review -- captures her life and career in this delightful memoir. Pick it up and its slim nature (less than 200 pages) might disappoint. But then you start to read it and realize, "Oh, she only put in the good stuff!"” - The Huffington Post“The book brims with anecdotes about working with such legendary figures as Bert Lahr, Judy Holliday, Eva LeGallienne and Lotte Lenya, as well as backstage types including, most memorably, an enormous wardrobe mistress...There are plenty of laughs –- after all, her first theater job was to play the Second Dead Lady in a revival of "Our Town" –- but there is plenty of candor, too.” - Nola.com Mary Louise Wilson has acted on and off Broadway and in films and TV for nearly fifty years. Roles include Vera Joseph in 4000 Miles at Lincoln Center (Obie Award), Big Edie in Grey Gardens (Tony Award), Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (Tony nomination), and Diana Vreeland in Full Gallop (Drama Desk Award). Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker and The New York Times and she teaches acting at Tulane. She lives in upstate New York.
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