From an inside peek at the inner workings of Hollywood to the backstage drama of Broadway, from a poignant look at the black upper class to an honest look at the WASP elite, this elegantly wrought memoir of an extraordinary family has something for everyone. Growing up with a black Auntie Mame-like mother (who performed with the likes of Lena Horne) and an Anglo sea-faring father, Susan Fales-Hill moved seamlessly between many worlds. But it was from her mother -- a woman who was dressed by Givenchy and sculpted by Alexander Calder, yet rejected by many a casting agent for her "dark," unconventional looks -- that Susan drew inspiration, particularly when she faced challenges in her own career as a television writer in Hollywood, a town that wasn't always receptive to positive images of people of color. As a result the two developed a bond that mothers and daughters everywhere will find inspiring. Both a universally touching mother-daughter story and a portrait of a dazzling American family, Always Wear Joy is a memoir readers won't soon forget.
The late, Haitian-born Josephine Premice lived an extraordinary life, performing as a dancer, singer, and actress in nightclubs, theaters, and TV shows. Her daughter, Fales-Hill, a successful TV writer and producer, still draws inspiration from her memory and here chronicles those colorful experiences. Josephine's early passion for dance led her to study with Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham, and in 1943 she launched her career at Carnegie Hall, with Eleanor Roosevelt as a patron. Over the course of 50 years, Josephine performed with fellow stars and friends, including Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Eartha Kitt, and Alvin Ailey and starred on Broadway. Her unconventional marriage to the heir of an aristocratic WASP family took her to Paris and Rome, as she balanced her stage career with her role as devoted wife and mother. A painful separation from her husband and serious health problems in her later years did not diminish Josephine's glamour and love of life. Fales-Hill brings to life her mother's joyful personality on the pages of this warm and charming book. Recommended for theater arts and black history collections.-Howard Miller, St. Louis, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 03, 2004
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