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I Love the Illusion: The Life and Career of Agnes Moorehead, 2nd edition 2nd Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593930950
ISBN-10: 159393095X
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Editorial Reviews

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Selected as one of the BEST BOOKS of 2006 by reviewer Laura Wagner in her Book Notes column. -- CLASSIC IMAGES, January, 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: BearManor Media; 2 edition (August 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159393095X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593930950
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because of her preeminence in the realm of "character actress" portrayals on both large and small screen and radio, it's a bit surprising that Charles Tranberg's I Love the Illusion is the first full length, fully researched biography of this remarkable actress (best remembered these days as that mother-in-law joke extraordinaire Endora on Bewitched in the 1960s).
The book recounts her youth, early training and struggles, and swift rise to the top in radio, a show biz medium perfect for less than gorgeous people with gorgeous vocal equipment. Her triumphs onstage, in film and on radio are well recounted, and the amazing performance in Magnificent Ambersons is given its due, alongside her string of stunning appearances on Suspense (none moreso than "Suddenly, Last Summer", wherein she shows a genuinely nasty bedridden rich lady who's suddenly aware that she's lost all of her control over events; it's a much juicier conception of the murder victim than what the censors allowed in the 1948 film).
And the monumental experience of Don Juan in Hell is also explained at length. (I was lucky enough to see the 1970s revival. She was amazing.)
Her marital misadventures are also addressed, but for those expecting shocking bisexual tidbits, forget it; this is the story of a rock ribbed minister's daughter, who believed the Bible and prayer provided all the answers, a teetotaler who annually threw one of the classiest, unfussiest Christmas parties given in Beverly Hills, where too much was rarely ever enough, in the 1950s and 1960s.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With "I Love the Illusion," Charles Tranberg has created the definitive biography and ultimate tribute to one of the greatest actresses of all time, Agnes Moorehead. The painstaking research he did before writing this book has paid off, having resulted in a captivating, fact-filled journey that we readers have been privileged to take alongside this author. I literally could not put this book down and have, so far, read it three times (and counting!).

This is Mr. Tranberg's first book, and with its launch, he personifies the adage, "hit the ground running." Besides details derived from interviews with friends and colleagues of Miss Moorehead's, this biography provides fascinating insight into the actress herself, uncovered by the author as he went through boxes of her letters, papers and scrapbooks at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. One of my favorite passages in this book is a story about how Miss Moorehead made "...a dying child's final month happy and memorable." As such, Mr. Tranberg shows how opposite this actress was from many of the stoic roles she played.

"I Love the Illusion" by Charles Tranberg sheds a refreshing light on a star who continues to shine decades after her after her death in 1974. Whether you are a casual fan or a serious admirer of the great Agnes Moorehead, you will love this book!
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Format: Paperback
I am thrilled to see this definitive biography on Agnes Moorehead in print again. I enjoy having both editions since the covers are different. There is also new material in the back of the book. I especially liked Tranberg's lecture material being added to the book. This is a must-have collectible for fans of radio, TV, and any of Agnes's film projects.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Agnes Moorehead was more than Endora. She was the embodiment of the greatest American actress of stage, screen, radio, and television. This detailed biography by Charles Tranberg covers her personal and professional life with rich details. Sadly, she didn't live long enough but into her seventies. She and others from the forgettable film, "The Conquerors," would succumb to cancer as cause of death. The author covers her life from beginning to her end and explores her two failed marriages and an adopted son named Sean Moorehead.

Her career came first for Agnes. If you read the appendices, you will see her abundance of work ranging from radio, stage, television and film throughout her career. She was a late bloomer and often played mother figures. She was nominated for an Academy Award four times. Perhaps if she had lived longer, she would have been awarded an honorary Academy Award. She was deeply respected and a professional actress by her peers and colleagues. She was the ideal actress for any role. Radio gave her the leading roles that films didn't. She never sounded bitter or ungrateful for the lack of leading roles.

Sadly, her relationship with Sean was perhaps the most disappointing of all. She shipped off to boarding schools in Europe rather than act as a full-time mother. In one heartbreaking note, he offered his toys for time with her. Agnes had taken care of him with all the luxuries except full time parenting. His outcome is never solved. Her marriages to Jack Lee and Robert Gist were failures. Jack Lee became resentful of her rising star while he never managed to have his own career. Robert Gist used her to get ahead in this business. Perhaps that is why she never sought a third husband.
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