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God Bless Hattie!,
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)This is without doubt one of the best showbiz biographies I have read. Andy Merriman gives us a fascinating view of the wonderful Hattie Jacques' colourful life both in and out of the public eye. And what a full and fabulous life it was!
Her story is told with honesty, integrity and affection and includes contributions from her son and surviving friends who knew her best.
She was a lively and multi faceted character. A bright and funny lady, a truly great actress and comedienne, a loving mum to her two sons, a devoted daughter to her beloved mother, a friend who many loved and relied on, and a woman whose love life was often eventful.
There is no hint of ego or any unpleasant trait in this lady!
People remember her home with great nostalgia. It reflected her character - warm and welcoming, 'A place of abundance' as one friend recalled. She welcomed family and friends at all hours and was known to cook guests bacon and eggs at 3am (her energy boosted by the purple hearts she freely handed round to her guests!)
Her courtship by John Le Mesurier is covered with touching detail. The chapters on her early career as a popular stage performer, before she became a radio star with the ITMA show, are fascinating and capture the era vividly.
Andy Merriman leaves us in no doubt this lady was a star from the very start of her career. She was also wildly sexy (once likened to Ava Gardner), though her weight always bothered her and she hated being the butt of 'fat jokes'.
This did not stop her embarking on a passionate, though ill fated affair which ended her marriage.
I personally didn't much like the 'Carry Ons' and much preferred her in 'Sykes' where her size was never referred to and she turned in beautifully judged comic performances that more than matched Eric Sykes.
It emerges in the book that Sykes may have shown some professional jealousy towards Hattie. It is said this caused her stress and sadness and consequently when she died her sons banned him from her funeral. This is terribly sad, especially when one views the Sykes shows and is reminded of what a wonderful double act they were.
This is an irrestistible and heart warming story, skilfully told. I was left feeling full of affection for Hattie and breathless admiration for her talent. She was very much loved by her family and friends but also by those who only knew her through the TV screen.
A great shame she suffered ill health towards the end of her life and died prematurely in her fifties. She was a wonderful actress and a very special human being and had so much more to give. I felt privileged to get this in depth insight into her life and personality.