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Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life with James Dean: A Love Story Hardcover – September 19, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sheridan, best known as Jerry Seinfeld's TV mother, reveals her love affair with James Dean in a brief book replete with moony dialogue, prescient remarks about Dean's driving habits and a 1950s New York setting. The effervescent Sheridan, known as Dizzy, was a dancer living in a theater district residence hall for aspiring actresses when she met the 21-year-old Dean, an Indiana farm boy who had come to New York via Hollywood. Their instant attraction was soon consummated. Sheridan portrays Dean as a sometimes corny romantic, who immediately began talking about being "together forever" and who needed "always to touch and be touched." While Dizzy managed to work, dancing in nightclubs all over New York or in summer stock musicals, Jimmy was either more unlucky or more choosy, and brooded over his disappointments. Though she touches on Dean's moody episodes and regular, unexplained disappearances, as well as his disclosure of a homosexual liaison with a California producer helpful to his career, Sheridan doesn't claim that her memoir is a complete account of Dean's New York years. (For example, there's no mention of his acceptance into the Actors Studio in November 1951.) When Dean was cast in a bound-for-Broadway production, he moved easily away from Sheridan. Dean got enthusiastic notices in See the Jaguar, although the play closed in a few days, and the affair never rekindled. Sheridan's feelings for Dean, her pain upon their separation and on his untimely death a few years later, are sweetly rendered and seem genuine, although the details are filtered though a romanticized lens. B&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Two love stories. One funny and sweet. One curious but poignant. Both authors linked by a coincidence: they were both characters on the TV sitcom Seinfeld. Before Stiller played George Costanza's father on Seinfeld, he was one half of the comedy team Stiller and Meara, a successful collaboration, in part because Anne Meara was his wife. This is not only the story of Stiller's rise from poverty to become a successful actor and comedian but also the story of a "showbiz" marriage, the unlikely pairing of a Jewish boy and an Irish girl who struggled to stay together for over 30 years. It's a very straightforward memoir with lots of insider, "showbizzy" anecdotes.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperEntertainment; 1st edition (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060393831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060393830
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book clearly deserves many more than five stars! It is one of the best books I have read in many years.
Romantic novels and love stories are not my first choice for fiction, usually because the authors cannot carry off the stories in effective ways. To enjoy these novels and plays, you usually have to overlay your own sense of romance . . . because the authors don't provide enough of their own.
Imagine my pleasure when I found this "true" romance that exceeds all but a handful of fictional ones. What a great treat!
"A long time ago . . . I fell in love with Jimmy Dean and he fell in love with me." You can see the fairy tale quality of the book in this simple sentence. What woman who felt a closeness to James Dean can help but be attracted by this opening? Liz Sheridan has the great gift of being a romantic person, and of being able to write about that perspective in a way that brings the reader into the relationship.
As a man who admired James Dean's acting, I was curious to learn more about his life as an aspiring actor and was greatly rewarded. Dean was even more interesting in real life than he was on the stage and screen.
Together, Liz (Dizzy) Sheridan and James (Jimmy) Dean were unbelievably alive and in love . . . in a way that almost anyone can admire and perhaps even envy a bit. "It was 1951, and he hadn't yet become James Dean, public property . . . the Rebel, the Icon." They would sing corny songs together, split a beer and talk until the bar closed, and dance down the streets like Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. Two talented theatrical people were always on-stage with each other, finishing each other's lines and hugging with laughter.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have been a James Dean fan for several years. I was excited to hear about the writing of this book. I liked this book for many reasons. First, it showed James Dean in a new light. It didn't focus on the rebel quality that so many other books do. It gave me a better insight as to what James Dean, the person, was like, rather than the actor. Secondly, it was a beautiful love story. I found the book easy to get caught up in, and hard to put down. I am so thankful that Dizzy shared her story with everyone!! I would recommend this book to all of James Dean's fans, and for anyone who enjoys a good love story!!
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37 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Peter L. Winkler on August 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dizzy & Jimmy is Sheridan's memoir of her affair with James Dean, which lasted only about one year and ended just as Dean's career began to gain momentum. The book concentrates on the details of their relationship as seen through Sheridan's rose-tinted memories, whose accuracy are sometimes questionable, as in her recounting of the visit she and Dean made to Dean's gay mentor, Rogers Brackett.

Sheridan barely remembered the encounter when Dean biographer Val Holley interviewed her, but she describes Brackett's building and apartment in detail in her memoir and says he had beige-colored hair. The only problem is that photos of Brackett published in Holley's and Ron Martinetti's books show that he had very dark hair.

This book amounts to a protracted magazine article, padded out with endless scene-setting descriptions and sidebars on Sheridan's mother, sister and father. The section on her post-Dean life in the Bahamas reads like something from a Harlequin romance and is of little interest.

Unless you have to have every Dean-related book, I'd read what Sheridan told Val Holley and Donald Spoto and skip this book.
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By Joleen on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I ran across this book at the Library and I thought it looked very interesting. I love the idea of hearing a love story about someone famous, before they were famous! You always hear talk about James Dean, this Sexy Icon of the 50's. I couldn't wait to read about him from the point of view of a an old flame.
This was certainly a lovey dovey story. I enjoyed hearing about it all, it was a little over the top here and there, but it was the 50's and things were certainly different back then. James Dean really didn't seem like the hearthrob I thought he'd be, yes they said romatic things here and there, but he really seemed to be a haunted kind of guy, even to those close to him. He really came off to me as a guy really in touch with his emotions. Things really got to him.
Dizzy, was a corky young dancer and she was just head over heels for him, I couldn't understand the split since they both seemed to still really love each other but I think Dizzy, just wasn't comfortable with the fact that Jimmy had a sort of affair with a man.
This put me off a little too. I was quiet suprised about it, I hadn't heard this ever before. I googled it after I read it, and found out that a lot of people heard of his outings with men. It kind of seemed to me like he was doing this stuff just for fame. I guess that happens a lot, but it struck me as odd.
I still really enjoyed it all. At the end when Dizzy learned of Jimmy's death it really hit me emotionally, she saw a his movie and in it, he said something exactly the way he'd always said it to her. I was in instant tears. I felt like it gave her some sort of closure. But putting myself in her shoes, I can just imagine how emotional it must have been for her.
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