Charlotte Greenwood never intended to become a comedienne, but she was unfashionably tall at 5’ 10" and her early aspirations to become a great dramatic actress eventually led her to the field of comedy. Greenwood, whose early life had taught her nothing if not how to be optimistic, stifled her disappointment and used her considerable skill to become one of the greatest comedic actresses of the early twentieth century.
Based on Greenwood’s unpublished memoirs, this biography presents a personal, detailed look at her colorful life. Beginning with her early years in Philadelphia, Boston and Norfolk, it relates her struggles with ill health, her social difficulties caused by her then unusual height and her realization of her ambition to become an actress. The main focus of the work is her career, which spanned more than 50 years and ranged from vaudeville to the dramatic stage and, finally, to films (during the World War II years she starred in Twentieth Century Fox musicals with Cesar Romero, Betty Grable, Edward Everett Horton, Jack Haley, Don Ameche, and Carmen Miranda). Her roles in a variety of works including The Passing Show of 1912, So Long Letty (both stage and film), and I Remember Mama are also discussed. Special emphasis is placed on her career-defining (and best-known) role as Aunt Eller Murphy in the 1955 film adaptation of Oklahoma! Charlotte Greenwood’s performance history, a list of her known recordings, and a filmography for her husband Martin Broones are also included, along with a collection of rare photographs and memorabilia.
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