George Burns and the Hundred Year Dash

Martin Gottfried, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (327p) ISBN 978-0-684-81483-4
Actor-comedian George Burns will be 100 in January, and this touching, breezy biography is peppered with indelible glimpses of an emotionally guarded man who turned his pain into oblique, self-effacing comedy. Born Nathan Birnbaum on New York's Lower East Side, the ninth of 12 children, to Orthodox Jewish parents who had migrated from eastern Europe, Burns quit school after fourth grade and by his mid-20s was a second-rate song-and-dance man. His transformation into vaudeville headliner, movie star and TV personality was galvanized by his collaboration with Gracie Allen, the Irish Catholic actress from San Francisco whom he married in 1926. Her death from a heart attack in 1964 traumatized Burns, but he reinvented himself, first as a solo comedian, then in a string of movie hits. Ex-New York Post drama critic Gottfried, biographer of Danny Kaye, interviewed Burns, his family, friends and colleagues. Here he candidly discusses the entertainer's infidelities, his sterility (he and Allen adopted two children) and his marriage in a star-studded biography stuffed with cameos of Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Groucho Marx, Dean Martin and Carol Channing, among others. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.