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The Legs Are the Last to Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned the Hard Way Paperback – September 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; Reprint edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060763272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060763275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,376,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At age 70, singer-actress Carroll, a Golden Globe and Tony Award winner, was described in a 2006 rave review by Stephen Holden in the New York Times as delivering a song like an emotional volcano, and the label works equally well for this radiant autobiography, bubbling over with sincere self-insights as well as a potent underlying theme of the immense cruelties and racial politics of showbiz. Revealing personal struggles with her mother and men (she details her marriage to singer Vic Damone), she pulls no punches in detailing conflicts with such major figures as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Pearl Bailey and Samuel Goldwyn. Beginning with her Harlem childhood, she traces her life from the High School of Music and Art, modeling and early club performances to theatrical triumphs (No Strings; Sunset Boulevard), TV (Julia; Dynasty), her grandchildren and plastic surgery, plus painful memories of racism. An outstanding chapter probes the art-directed Negro squalor and other demeaning aspects of the 1959 film Porgy and Bess, a cliché of noble poverty as reimagined by some very talented white men. What emerges is an astute analysis of her career along with descriptions of the highs and lows of an often glamorous life, whether she performs at dazzling Vegas venues or in an intimate cabaret space. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

With the kind of verve and energy for which she’s well known, Carroll recounts life in the later stages of a long career. Admittedly vain and proud of the fact that in her 70s she still looks good—even in high heels no less—Carroll looks back on a groundbreaking career: the first black actress to star in her own television show and, more recently, the first black actress to play the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. In between, Carroll has racked up a breathtaking list of achievements on stage, in film, and on television. She’s also racked up four failed marriages and a life full of the kind of mistakes a driven woman will make climbing to the top of a show-business career during a period when women and African Americans had few opportunities. Carroll is candid about the trials and tribulations—as well as the joys and triumphs—in her public and private life. This follow-up to her earlier memoir (Diahann: An Autobiography, 1986) is a heartfelt appreciation of life, friends, and family. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I read the first book and was eager to read this one.
V. J. Collier
Many readers will relate to the stories about her aging parents who she comes to recognize as flawed but good people.
eclectictastes
She is quite funny, always glamorous, and very honest in this memoir that covers her entire life.
Bryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By eclectictastes on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Back in the 80s when she was appearing on Dynasty ,one of the hottest shows in the country, Diahann Carroll wrote "Diahann", her first autobiography detailing her life, careers and loves up until that point. Although interesting and informative, the book's prose seemed stilted and overly dramatic at times. In addition, one got the impression that Miss Carroll was holding back in some areas perhaps over fear of repurcussions to her career.

Her latest book, The Legs Are The Last To Go, is informative but even more interesting as it comes from a woman who now seems comfortable enough in her own skin to speak her mind about her 50 year career. In this book, Miss Carroll is more frank in telling her story . Her demeanor is also looser. After reading the first book, I didn't expect her to be such a funny storyteller but I found myself laughing out loud at her recollections of working with Pearl Bailey as well as a fleeting encounter with a certain music superstar of the 70s.

Her recollections and updates on her relationships with her daughter and former husband Vic Damone are candid but not exploitative. Instead they reveal her emotional growth. Many readers will relate to the stories about her aging parents who she comes to recognize as flawed but good people. Even as a veteran actress, Carroll isn't totally jaded about the entertainment business. You can feel her excitement and appreciation when she writes about meeting and working with Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy.

I strongly recommend this book. Hopefully, Miss Carroll will have more stories.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bryan on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've known and loved Diahann Carroll for quite some time, so I was more than happy to read "Diahann Unplugged" in The Legs Are the Last to Go! She is quite funny, always glamorous, and very honest in this memoir that covers her entire life. The photos are great, and whether you know her from Broadway, from TV, or her singing career, this is a great read!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. R. Morgan on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am too young to remember Diahann from her heyday, but my mother was a fan and she was still definitely a household name for me growing up. This book not only made me laugh, it also taught me a lot about Old Hollywood, especially in its pre-politically correct days. If you like Nora Ephron's I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK, THE LEGS ARE THE LAST TO GO is similar but with more substance, and more glamour! So many entertainment legends cross these pages. It's a must read not only for Diahann's fans but all Hollywood and Broadway buffs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I met Diahann Carroll at a book signing in 1986 when she had her first autobiography out called "Diahann!". That encounter was simply one I will never forget. Unlike most celebrities who are phony and unpersonal, Diahann actually spoke to me as a human being, was gracious, yet was still the "star" that she was with elegant and poise. I still have the book that she signed for me in my library and it is one of my prized possessions.

So, it was with great interest when I heard Diahann was releasing a follow-up to her first book called "The Legs Are The Last To Go...". Informative, juicy, and very revealing Diahann writes about events in her life that were written in her first book, but is more forthcoming in those details. She discusses her marriages and relationships to the full extent, writing how one man beat her constantly while she was doing TV's "Julia". She writes about her marriage to Vic Damone, her career highs and lows in music, television, and the stage detailing the racism she felt when she first entered the industry. Being the first African/American female to star in her own network series in the 1960's ("Julia), Diahann struggled to make the sitcom entertaining and educational while battling with producers and network executives to keep the show at its best level of excellence. She writes about her few years on "Dynasty" in the eighties when she wanted to be the first black bitch on primetime, but was disappointed in her lack of story as the writers were not interested in writing for her character, so Dominique quietly disappeared in 1987.

Diahann also starred as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" on the stage and she is not shy in writing about her battles with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carmen Matthews on October 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Normally, I don't read other reviews, when I'm reading a book. But, being so connected with this book, I was curious what others thought.

I'm shocked by the assumptions and generalizations in some of the reviews
for this book.

When I saw Robin Roberts interviewing Diahann Carroll about this book, I said, "I gotta get that book. I want to know what Diahann Carroll's thoughts were, and the challenges, as well as triumps she went through."

This book is wonderful, because from cover to cover, she takes readers on a journey, with strength, humility and humor. You can almost hear her voice.

Often, there's not only thoughts that she expresses about her experiences. There's also thoughts that seem to come from her mind (follow up thoughts).

And even though she's rooting for a different presidential candidate than who I would think she would root for, I'm happy to say that I can put that aside, and focus upon the dialogues that she has created in this great book.

This book is a welcome conversation, replete with lessons for everyone, and in particular those who aspire to go well beyond now, in their life's journey - just because we all deserve to endlessly grow, with balance in our lives.
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