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Colleen Dewhurst : her autobiography

Author: Colleen Dewhurst; Tom Viola
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Over ten years ago, I had an idea that brings me to this very moment." So wrote Colleen Dewhurst, as she began - finally - to recall the stories that would fill these pages. Three years later, Dewhurst, acclaimed as one of the greatest tragic actresses of our time, died on August 22, 1991, leaving unfinished the autobiography she had been writing for nearly two decades.
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Genre/Form: Autobiographies
Biographies
Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Dewhurst, Colleen.
Colleen Dewhurst.
New York : Scribner, 1997
(OCoLC)645869269
Named Person: Colleen Dewhurst; Colleen Dewhurst; Colleen Dewhurst
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Colleen Dewhurst; Tom Viola
ISBN: 0684807017 9780684807010
OCLC Number: 36407744
Notes: "A Lisa Drew book."
Includes index.
Description: 400 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Responsibility: written with and completed by Tom Viola.

Abstract:

"Over ten years ago, I had an idea that brings me to this very moment." So wrote Colleen Dewhurst, as she began - finally - to recall the stories that would fill these pages. Three years later, Dewhurst, acclaimed as one of the greatest tragic actresses of our time, died on August 22, 1991, leaving unfinished the autobiography she had been writing for nearly two decades.

The partial manuscript, notes and untranscribed tapes sketched the complete woman: the daughter who wrestled with the domineering strength of her mother's will, yet whose fierce integrity would motivate her actions for a lifetime; the student of Tyrone Guthrie, Harold Clurman and Joseph Papp; the creator, with actors Jason Robards and Ben Gazzara, of definitive renditions of Eugene O'Neill and Edward Albee plays; the star who would win two Obies, two Tonys and four Emmys; the activist who as president of Actors' Equity Association and a trustee of The Actors' Fund of America spoke up first and often, becoming a fierce advocate for those who were not as well known as she; the wife of George C. Scott; the mother of Alex and Campbell - and, on television, of Murphy Brown; and, finally, the friend whose laughter and easy willingness to share the joy, the pain and the random ridiculousness of life invited many into her heart. Colleen's unbending principles and ardent activism would shape her life.

But her intensity was balanced by exuberance and an egalitarian love of gossip, as evidenced by anectodes of professional success and failure; stories about the classic productions of The Taming of the Shrew, Desire Under the Elms, All the Way Home, A Moon for the Misbegotten, You Can't Take It with You and Long Day's Journey into Night; memories of finding her stage legs in cramped theaters where she earned the sobriquet the "Queen of Off-Broadway"; as well as delicious details about the menagerie of people and pets who collected at her wooded escape known as the Farm.

To enhance and complete the existing manuscript, author Tom Viola, Colleen's friend and assistant at Equity, decided to interview those who knew her best. These included: Edward Albee, Jason Robards, Jose Quintero, Ellen Burstyn, Zoe Caldwell, Maureen Stapleton, Roscoe Lee Browne and Elizabeth Wilson; her sons Alex and Campbell Scott; and more than thirty others. They told the stories she wouldn't tell - of the smile that electrified a room; of the appetite for life that drew friends and strangers and audiences to her like a magnetic field; of her propensity for gift-giving; of her generosity of spirit and love. As the interviews show, Colleen's life was one of indelible impressions and stunning influence; they add nuance and remarkable dimension to the story Colleen told her own words.

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