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The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography Paperback – 6 Nov 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (6 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074340405X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743404051
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 854,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Her big movies are hard to find these days, and her name doesn't evoke the fan recognition awarded fellow MGM graduates Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, yet for more than a decade during Hollywood's age d'or Esther Williams was one of the studio's most bankable leading ladies. An American beauty and swimming champ, she was hired at MGM in 1941 at age 18, and from then on starred in two or three thinly plotted "swimming musicals" a year--films with titles likeNeptune's Daughter, Million Dollar Mermaid, Easy to Love, and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Her inevitable role was the pin-up you could pin up at home, and it seems to have reflected her offstage personality too. Her long (400 pages) memoir is not always a miracle of narrative, but it includes a wealth of juicy gossip: Louis B.Mayer's rolling-on-the-floor tantrums; Gene Kelly's verbal cruelty on the set of Take Me Out to the Ball Game; her three failed marriages, including a long, draining one to Fernando Lamas; Lana Turner's name for Mayer ("Daddy"); Johnny Weismuller's backstage pursuit of her (naked); her own heat for Victor Mature ("unleashed"); and the LSD she tried in 1959 on Cary Grant's recommendation.

Like so many other as-told-to books, the memories often feel self-serving, and there are plywood sentences even Lana Turner would choke on delivering. Disappointingly, Williams rarely shares what went on behind her lowered eyes and those buoyant cheekbones. --Lyall Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Forthright and affably ribald.-Entertainment Weekly "Her sparkling anecdotes alternate the scandalous, the charming and the ridiculous....Tremendously entertaining life story."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Williams is capable and down-to-earth, but the movie star has just enough ego-and the requisite bad taste in men-to make her story interesting."-Chicago Tribune "Williams, always sassy, proves herself to be a daring memoirist."-Time "One of the most engaging and involving movie-star bios ever; her Million Dollar Mermaid is really something special."-Liz Smith, The New York Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 July 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has to be one of the best "star" autobiographies to have been published. I found it to be totally riveting and amazingly frank, you just cant help but like this book. It tells her remarkable life story with such warmth and honesty its as if you were her confidante and and she's letting you in on all her secrets. It charts her life right through from her childhood in California and her first steps in the ocean where she realised that she was in her element and felt she truly belonged. You feel her sadness at missing out on her dreams of winning in the Olympic Games and of her lost chances. The reluctant movie star whos dreams never included a film career but was slowly won over by all that Hollywood had to offer. No stone is left unturned as Miss Williams tells you of her battles with the studio bosses and all of the juicy gossip on her leading men and their leading ladies. You get the truth about the Hollywood publicity machine and her failed marriages and secret heartaches including finding out a terrible secret about the man she was intending to marry. Even bankruptcy couldnt shatter this remarkable woman who bounced back conquering family heartache and personal sadness to eventually find contentment and happiness and a place in life. She rode the waves only to fall off and get right back on again. I truly enjoyed this book. The Million Dollar Mermaid exudes warmth wit and entertainment and is a "cant put down" read. Go on splash out!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Ths book starts on an odd note, telling of the author's introduction to LSD by Cary Grant, but it soon hits its pace, recounting the childhood and magical career of swimming star Esther Williams.
Esther started out as a swimming champion, but was spotted by a talent scout and recruited to a water show called the Aquacades. From here, the movies beckoned, and she starred in water-based musical hit after hit. Along the way she married four times and had some enviable affairs with leading men. Her first screen test was with a very dashing Clark Gable, who kept kissing her to disguise the fact that he hadn't learnt his lines, and gave her the nickname "The Mermaid".
Throughout, Esther retains her sense of proportion and wonderment at her success, and by the end of the book I felt that I really wanted to meet her. I love showbiz biographies, and this is one of the best of recent years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By marzipanthecat on 10 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
I have come to know the films of Esther Williams through the BBC2 and Channel 4 re-runs in the afternoons, very much in the way she says a lot of younger people have come to know her through Turner Classic Movies in America. Being a keen swimmer myself, I thought this book might not only be a gossip fest about her career, but be useful to me too. Correct on both counts. She talks through her more memorable underwater scenes (I tried a few of her moves and they are incredibly hard, it made me appreciate what an Olympic class swimmer she was) and then she through in lots of affairs and divorces and worrying detail (a couple of the crew on one film tied from typhoid when they were in Mexico - it wasn't all limos and champagne). The start of this book really shook me - not at all what I expected and made sure I carried on reading (no, I won't spoil it by saying what it is!).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Took a while to arrive as it had to be imported from the US - but did so by the date stipulated. I had a courteous email telling me it would soon arrive and when it hadn't and when I asked when would it I received another prompt email saying it would be looked into, Then it arrived, As a child I watched lots of Esther Williams movies and as a competitive swimmer was interested in her story having heard she'd died recently at the age of 91. What a story she had to tell.She was the most amazing woman with a true entrepreneurial spirit. I would have liked a little more on the swimming and less about the movies (but some gems about old Hollywood stars) but nevertheless a really interesting book. I always admired her swimming talent but what she achieved was remarkable.
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By A Customer on 2 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Esther Williams, though not the most widely remembered golden era stars, writes a throughly enjoyable guide to Hollywood in it's hey day.
The book starts out with William's description of her rather poverty stricken background and recounts her rise from shop assistent to MGM star.
William's book contains lots of gossip on such legends as Lana Turner and other co stars; but what really stands out is William's strength through her gruelling schedule and numerous studio related accidents. She is more a admiral star than those who may be better remembered than her.
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By lovemurakami TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was recommended to be by another classic film fan. Although I was never a huge fan of Esther Williams, although like many others i watched and enjoyed her films, I found this a fascinating, yet fun read.
She gives us insight into how hollywood operated during her time there, and also we see other stars through her eyes. It also makes you appreciate what she did in the way of stunts in her films and the dangers she was put in. Great read. Recommend it for any film fan.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. Esther Williams gives her bad moments as well as her good & engages your attention with the first page with a bit of a shocker! She was an amazing lady & tells her story so well. I was gripped. I am about to start reading it again, once I get it back from the long list of people who couldn't wait to read it. Also some lovely pictures are included to put some faces to the names.
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