Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
My First Hundred Years in Show Business: A Memoir Paperback – December 6, 2016
“Thank you MLW for writing this book, if only to confirm for me hi diddly de de the actor’s life for me―a life as full of heartache, waiting, and disappointment as it is, for us all, an absolute delight. Learning that it would be the same for the great Mary Louise Wilson is a relief. And for those not in show biz...get ready to read some truth!”
- Melissa Leo, Academy Award-winning actor
“Mary Louise Wilson’s writing is like her acting―deft, droll, and full of surprises. Her book is a riot of characters met and characters played, of dreams dashed and dreams fulfilled―a funny, frank, and savvy chronicle of a wonderful life, in the theatre and beyond.”
- David Hyde Pierce, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor
“A fascinating read from one of our greatest comic actresses.”
- Bernadette Peters, Tony Award-winning actor
“MY FIRST HUNDRED YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS is a sharp and brazenly authentic meditation on the elusiveness of fame and the determination one needs to "just charge ahead" amidst the uncertainty of making it in show business.”
“Here it is, the dishiest, funniest, chattiest, and most soul-baring theater book of the year. Tony winner Mary Louise Wilson -- forever dubbed "the best thing in it" in review after review -- captures her life and career in this delightful memoir. Pick it up and its slim nature (less than 200 pages) might disappoint. But then you start to read it and realize, "Oh, she only put in the good stuff!"”
- The Huffington Post
“The book brims with anecdotes about working with such legendary figures as Bert Lahr, Judy Holliday, Eva LeGallienne and Lotte Lenya, as well as backstage types including, most memorably, an enormous wardrobe mistress...There are plenty of laughs –- after all, her first theater job was to play the Second Dead Lady in a revival of "Our Town" –- but there is plenty of candor, too.”
About the Author
Mary Louise Wilson has acted on and off Broadway and in films and TV for nearly fifty years. Roles include Vera Joseph in 4000 Miles at Lincoln Center (Obie Award), Big Edie in Grey Gardens (Tony Award), Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (Tony nomination), and Diana Vreeland in Full Gallop (Drama Desk Award). Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker and The New York Times and she teaches acting at Tulane. She lives in upstate New York.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
On television, she left a lasting impression as Ginny, the cocktail waitress. Mary Louise was truly unhappy in Los Angeles, California personally. She preferred life in New York City with her friends. Lear released her from her contract after a season by her choice. There were no hard feelings. For decades, there were rumors about a rivalry between her and Bonnie Franklin that led to her character's departure.
She left the series because she was unhappy in Los Angeles, California not because of Bonnie Franklin. In fact, I'm surprised that she and Bonnie weren't close friends. They had more in common personally and professionally. Both women had apartments in New York City and a failed marriage behind each of them by this time. Again, Mary Louise left the series on her accord and with Norman Lear's blessing to release her from the contract after one season.
Mary Louise had spent most of her acting career onstage in New York City; Hampstead, London; San Diego; Cincinatti; Rochester; among other places. She writes honestly about her experiences without trying to trash anybody's reputation. Unfortunately, Hollywood didn't pan out for her in the series. She would play a French maid, Toinette, in a long forgotten ABC television series, "The Thorns," filmed in New York City.
Mary Louise writes about her abortion, marriage, love life, and relationships as well with candor and truthfulness. She had a three year marriage to an actor that ended in a divorce. Still Mary Louise is a beloved actress in theatrical circles especially in New York City and the East Coast.
This autobiography is about the life of an American actress through the good times and bad times in one of the toughest industries. She had just finished a run in the Broadway revival, "On The Twentieth Century." She lives between New York City and a home in upstate New York. Mary Louise Wilson still acts on stage, television, and film if they don't edit her out.
Written in a casual, breezy style, page after page is like having Mary-Louise sitting in your kitchen or living room regaling you and a few friends with dozens and dozens of stories about her checkered past in an amusingly animated way. The book sways back and forth between eras with the crux of it being the early-to-mid 1990s when Wilson was hell-bent on getting her play “Full Gallop” based on the life of fashion icon/socialite Diana Vreeland, produced. I kind of wish she had ditched the Vreeland angle and told more of her own personal stories. In fact, I think she could follow Bea Arthur’s lead and do a one-woman show talking about her own experiences in show biz. Her dry sense of humor amazingly translates well to the page and nothing is sacred, from hemorrhoids to abortion, and a cross-dressing boy-toy of color. Ms. Wilson lets it all hang out in a hilarious way.
FOUR STARS. I enjoyed this and here’s to your SECOND hundred years—you’re a gem Mary-Louise!
No one told Mark Hampton that the Wilson version of Full Gallop was inferior, except for the seductively autocratic Jay Presson Allen. That was the problem with these people she surrounded herself with, they buckled under the opinions of Oscar winners and couldn’t see that somewhere, under the self-deprecating putdowns. Mary Louise Wilson was a real artist.
She makes a lot out of the fact that there are two guys called Mark Hampton and the one who betrayed her was not the more famous of the two.
Another couple who betrayed her was her brother and sister, each about five or ten years older than she, and a couple of neurotic nuts who could have played in Grey Gardens. Indeed Mary Louise won a Tony for her work in the Musical of Grey Gardens, for she had lived through the confusion of living with self-centered nuts with bodies like living, electric lies! There was her black boyfriend she met in Cincinatti when both were starring in Volpone—he was a piece of work. There was Judy Holliday, the top Broadway star who was certifiably crazy and who, during the run together in the flop Hot Spot (the early 60s musical set in the Peace Corps), said only one word to Mary Louise Wilson: “Salts.”
She was so powerful and so crazy she sabotaged the play beyond a success, by climbing down out of her star dressing room and re-writing the scenes so she never had to act in a single scene with her leading man. Or was it crazy Gerry Mulligan, then Holliday’s boyfriend, who sabotaged her? It’s hard to say.
I know one guy who is going to love this book and I’m going to send it to him now!