A biography equal to the outsized personality of one of Broadway’s best-loved stars
From her breakout rendition of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” in 1930 to her triumphant performance as Gypsy ’s Mama Rose in 1959, Ethel Merman defined Broadway stardom for two generations of music lovers. Merman’s singing voice—brassy, penetrating, and undeniably American—has transcended genre and era to become a cultural icon. As an entertainer she burned with unstoppable energy. Offstage she was the original diva, a woman who knew what she wanted and brooked no interference. Her spats and frequently off-color zingers have become part of theater lore.
In this entertaining and authoritative biography, Brian Kellow traces Merman’s life from her childhood in Queens, New York, through her three decades at the peak of Broadway celebrity. In an era dominated by outsized personalities and egos, none was more vibrant and powerful than Merman’s, yet beneath the tough-dame image was an enormously vulnerable and often lonely woman. Kellow’s book, which includes recollections from more than 120 of Merman’s friends, colleagues, and family members, stands as the definitive biography and an affectionate portrait of an unforgettable star. Fans of Broadway history and of the great Ethel Merman will find Kellow’s biography an irresistible read.