Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes is the first ever biography of the effervescent, scene stealing actress (1906-1979) who conquered motion pictures, vaudeville, Broadway, summer stock, television, radio, and publishing. Born the child of itinerant vaudevillians, she was on stage by age 3. Blessed with a casual sex appeal, distinctive cello voice, megawatt smile, luminous saucer eyes, and flawless timing, she came into widespread fame in Warner Bros. musicals and comedies of the 1930s, including Blonde Crazy, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade. Her gifts at drama were showcased in the family classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the film noir Nightmare Alley, and the tearjerker The Blue Veil, for which she was Oscar nominated. Later she became a staple of television through countless guest spots and her Emmy nominated role in the 1960s series Here Come the Brides. In testimony to her underappreciated versatility, she finished her epic career with a dynamic turn in John Cassavetes' Opening Night and a cameo spot in the hit musical Grease. Frequent costar to James Cagney, Clark Gable, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart, friend to Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, and Bette Davis, and wife to Dick Powell and Mike Todd, Joan Blondell was a true Golden Age Hollywood insider. By the time of her death from leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis, she had made nearly 100 films in a career that spanned over 50 years. Privately, she was unerringly loving and generous, while her life was touched by financial, medical, and emotional reversals. Comprehensively researched, expertly weaving the public and private, and featuring numerous rare photos and quotes by family, friends, and colleagues, Joan Blondell: A Life between Takes is printed under the aegis of UPM's acclaimed Hollywood Legends Series.
Matthew gives an overview of the book:
Joan Blondell has always been an enigma. As a beloved actress, she was in front of the cameras for five decades, yet was adamant in her priorities to family and home life. She made good money due to an exhausting schedule, yet was never far ahead of the bill collectors. She was one of the most reliably good actresses Hollywood has ever seen, yet she was rarely showcased and never won a major award. She was a most steadfast friend to many, yet her three marriages ended badly.