Journals Higher Education



Published: 07 October 1993

336 Pages | 25 halftones

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195085525

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (06)


Fanny Brice

The Original Funny Girl

Herbert G. Goldman

In this luminous volume, Herbert G. Goldman, acclaimed biographer of Al Jolson, illuminates the life of the woman who inspired the spectacularly successful Broadway show and movie Funny Girl, the vehicle that catapulted Barbara Streisand to stardom. In a work that is both glorious biography and captivating theatre history, Goldman covers both Fanny's remarkable career on stage and radio--ranging from her first triumph as "Sadie Salome" to her long run as radio's "Baby Snooks" from 1936 to 1951--and her less-than-triumphant personal life. He reveals a woman who was a curious mix of elegance and earthiness, of high and low class, a lady who lived like a duchess but cursed like a sailor. She was probably the greatest comedienne the American stage has ever known as well as our first truly great torch singer, and the star of some of the most memorable Ziegeld Follies in the 1910s and 1920s. But her personal life, as Goldman shows, was less successful. The great love of her life, the gangster Nick Arnstein, was a swindler who spent most of their married life either hiding out, awaiting trial, or in prison. Her first marriage to Frank White was over almost as soon as it was consummated, and her third and last marriage, to Billy Rose, the "Bantam Barnum," ended acrimoniously when Rose left her for swimmer Eleanor Holm.
With many anecdotes and revealing interviews, this meticulously researched biography is a telling portrait of one of America's greatest female entertainers, and a book that will delight all lovers of the stage.


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