The Hovick sisters. Has anyone read all of their books?
"Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper" by Gypsy Rose Lee
"Early Havoc" and "More Havoc" by June Havoc
How do the accounts of their life differ significantly? They became estranged once the musical Gypsy was produced and didn't make up until Gypsy was diagnosed with cancer years later.
Mama Rose was quite the gun-totin' gal, first attempting to shoot the chorus boy with whom June ran off and married, then shooting and killing her female lover after she made a pass at her daughter Gypsy. How did they convince the police it was a suicide?
Gypsy wrote (maybe) a book entitled the G-String Murders which was turned into a Barbara Stanwyck film The Lady of Burlesque. June wrote a play entitled Marathon '33, which ran briefly on Broadway and starred Julie Harris and for which June was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Director.
I read "Early Havoc" nearly 30 years ago and remember very little about it except that its tone was much more grim than "Gypsy." By contrast, I re-read "Gypsy" so many times I practically memorized it.
The thing is, a lot of it is made up. Gypsy uses the old cockroach-in-the-salad bit also used in VICTOR/VICTORIA and passes it off as original. There are a lot of tall tales like that in the book, but that is half the fun of it. In later years Gypsy took a "your guess is as good as mine" attitude toward her past.
Havoc, as I recall, was a good writer. Her book was less fun because it told more of the grittier truth about being a child performer, surviving the Depression and making a name on Broadway relying more on talent than celebrity.
Gypsy's book is a typical showbiz biography of its era, written for entertainment value rather than truthfulness. June's book, which was published the same year the musical "Gypsy" came out, is much better written and more honest abut the hell of growing up as one of Madame Rose's theatrical child slavery ring, though also meant primarily as a good read rather than historical document. I think both of them confirm that the musical does a surprisingly good job of depicting the dynamics of that particular dysfunctional family.
Erik Lee Preminger's "My G-String Mother" (also published as "Gypsy and Me"), written by Gypsy's son by Otto Preminger, is the best of the three and reveals quite horrifyingly that Gypsy turned out just like her mother.
Thanks for that R2, I think I'll check out Preminger's book.
A non-musical movie about Gypsy Rose Lee could be excellent. I know Sigourney Weaver was planning to star in one a few years ago. It's interesting how heavily fictionalized the musical is too, and yet it still captures some truth about them.
The section in Gypsy's book about touring with Fanny Brice could make an interesting musical in itself. Streisand could return to the stage!
My college did a production of Marathon '33 in the early 1980s. I remember it as a fun night of theater about the Depression Era marathon dance tournaments.
Lots of good roles for a young cast. I'm surprised it hasn't been produced at schools very much, at least to my knwledge. It would be too expensive to mount on Broadway these days.
While not strictly an autobiographical play, the lead is obviously a stand-in for June.
I'm blanking on the author's name but American Rose, a bio of Lee that came out a few years ago is a wonderfully written book, very evocative of her and her times.
[quote]The section in Gypsy's book about touring with Fanny Brice could make an interesting musical in itself. Streisand could return to the stage!
With heavy makeup and good lighting Streisand might pass for 60 but Fanny Brice died at age 59 and she only toured with Gypsy when she was much younger, so that's out.
Rose had a 10-room apartment on West End Avenue with lots of female roommates. When one of them hit on her, Gypsy shot the lesbian.
I read June Havoc's books several years ago and they are mostly about her time participating in dance marathons (think "They Shoot Horses, Don't They"). I also had the pleasure of meeting her and visiting her house in Connecticut. Great lady.
Was June Havoc the mother of former Broadway actress April Shawhan (who co-starred in the Andrews Sister musical Over Here)?
WEHT April Shawhan (and I may not be spelling that last name correctly)?
I grew up in the Bay Area and remember watching Gypsy's morning talk show on the ABC affiliate in San Francisco (in the '60s). She was a hoot, and quite intelligent.
r9, April Shawhan was born in 1940. June's daughter was April Hyde (April 2,1930-December 28, 1998).
Thanks for the info r11.
Was one of June's husband's a Shawn or Shawhan? If so, that may be why I was confused.
So maybe that means April Shawhan is still with us, if not acting?
[quote] When one of them hit on her, Gypsy shot the lesbian.
Gypsy's mother, Rose, was the one who shot her.