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W. C. Fields by Himself: His Intended Autobiography Hardcover – 1 Jun 1973
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I always recommend this book and 'The Man On The Flying Trapeze' by Simon Louvish as the definitive duo in giving you a clear look at the man. Mr. Louvish took great care in his research knowing that Fields himself knew how to spin a tale to his advantage throughout his career and sorts fact from fiction.
I highly recommend both. One for giving Fields his own voice on the matter and the other for doing the best possible job of sorting fact from fiction.
An essential volume for any true Fields aficionado.
The correspondence is of some interest, though the first letters section (1880 - 1929) seems to be composed primarily of responses to his wife's constant requests for money, which quickly become tedious.
None of this material was created for an "intended autobiography," it's just a bunch of debris found in a basement and capitalized upon by Fields' heirs. Aside from being addressed by him in letters, Fields' contemporaries (Will Rogers, Florenz Ziegfeld, Eddie Cantor, Gregory Lacava, Jack Benny, John Barrymore) are all noticeably absent.
Field's companion/mistress for the last 14 years of his life, Carlotta Monti, is given particularly short shrift here. Her book, W.C. Fields and Me, BTW, while padded, is far superior to this effort, and paints a far more vivid portrait of Fields. (And I use the word effort loosely, as very little of it seems to have gone into assembling this mess.)
W. C. Fields & Me
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