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Thank Heaven (Anglais) Relié – novembre 2009


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Présentation de l'éditeur

"Caron provides countless dishy details about her exploits which are sure to entertain film buffs, Caron fans and aspiring actors."
-Booklist


While still a teenager, Leslie Caron-the daughter of an American mother and French father-was literally plucked from the Ballets des Champs- Elysées to star opposite Gene Kelly in An American in Paris, and went on to become an MGM star and one of the most cherished and admired actresses of our time.

Wry, poignant, and unguardedly frank, Thank Heaven (an homage to "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," the song Maurice Chevalier sings about her in Gigi) recounts Caron's unorthodox childhood in France, her string of Hollywood successes and leading men, her very public affair with Warren Beatty, and her later triumph over depression and alcoholism. Both witty and deeply moving, Caron's unsentimental memoir will captivate anyone who loves classic American movies. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Biographie de l'auteur

Leslie Caron is one of the most cherished and admired international film stars of our time. She made her film debut with Gene Kelly in the classic MGM musical An American in Paris, created one of the most enduring roles in American musicals as Gigi, danced with Fred Astaire in Daddy Long Legs, and starred with Cary Grant in Father Goose. She lives in Paris. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .



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Amazon.com: 43 commentaires
49 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Caron Reveals a Rich Life Full of Potholes with Elegance and Candor 18 décembre 2009
Par Ed Uyeshima - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
It's hard to believe that Leslie Caron is 78 now, even if her star-making turn as Lise Bouvier, Gene Kelly's unattainable object of desire in An American in Paris was nearly six decades ago. There was a lilting quality to her wide Cheshire grin and gamine screen presence that begged comparison with her most comparable contemporary, Audrey Hepburn. According to Caron, their professional paths only crossed in the casting of the title role of Gigi, which Hepburn coveted but lost to Caron (Hepburn rebounded by getting cast opposite Fred Astaire in another classic musical, Funny Face). Regardless, neither actress led the charmed life that their screen counterparts would lead you to believe, and the French-American actress corroborates this with her sophisticated, reflective autobiography.

Caron represents one of the last remaining bridges to the golden era of MGM musicals, and as such, her eminently readable albeit often cursory book is sprinkled with legendary names beginning with Gene Kelly, who saw her in the Ballet des Champs-Elysées' 1948 production of "La Recontre", a performance he remembered vividly two years later when he returned to Paris in search of a dancing unknown to introduce in An American in Paris (replacing a pregnant Cyd Charisse). However, her sparkling talent apparently hid a mass of insecurities developed as a child growing up in privilege in pre-WWII Paris with a French chemist father and a disapproving American mother to whom nothing she did was ever good enough. Instead of being able to celebrate her bicultural heritage, Caron felt alienated from both worlds and further isolated by the outbreak of war.

She was prepared by her dancer mother to become a ballerina, even calling herself Caronova (like Pavlova), but Hollywood beckoned and her talent blossomed along with two subsequent Oscar nominations, one as a street urchin in Lili and the other as a pregnant single woman in The L-Shaped Room. Her career is distinguished to say the least. Caron not only danced with Kelly and Astaire (in Daddy Long Legs) but also Nureyev and Baryshnikov. However, her honest yet discreet accounts of her romantic relationships, including three marriages and divorces, are just as engaging, especially when in the mid-1960's, she embarked on a long affair with Warren Beatty whom she portrays as both attentive and narcissistic. She also hobnobbed with the likes of Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley, Jean Renoir and François Truffaut, and yet doesn't shy away from the controversies and bad decisions in her life.

Caron maintains an elegant diplomacy about those whom she obviously disliked (David Niven, Kirk Douglas) and those who remained enigmatic to her (Cary Grant, Henry Fonda). The actress kept her life full with two children, while battling alcoholism and crippling depression, exacerbated by the suicide of her mother. She is quite candid about her vigilant attendance at weekly AA meetings. When the actress couldn't get enough work in the early 1990's, she opened a small hotel and restaurant in Burgundy, which sadly just closed in September due to the recession. Above it all, Caron has survived it all to tell her story with no regrets.
33 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thank Heaven for writing your memoirs 9 juin 2010
Par Irmgard - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
I was delighted to find Leslie's memoirs in print. They should be read fast the first time and then slowly the second time to savor every chapter. This is honest, straightforward, diplomatic, kind and classy and gives a glimpse into the world of Hollywood, the theatre and ballet. I have followed Leslie Caron's life and career for more than 50 years.
In 1957 I worked for Leslie Caron and Peter Hall as cook-housekeeper in their first flat in Hyde Park Square. Winston Churchill had his London residence across the Square. Baby Christopher was just a few weeks old and taken care of by Maria, the Swiss Nanny. The flat was a hospitable place with frequent lunch or dinner guests. I cooked for and served Cecil Beaton, Jean Renoir, Gene Kelly (he had a sensitive stomach and liked my bland soup), John Osborne, Lars Schmidt, Tennessee Williams and others.
When the Hall family left July 3, 1957 for Paris for the outdoor scenes for the movie GIGI, Leslie Caron wore a chic two piece grey suit she had sewn just a few days before. She constantly amazed me with her many talents, including in the kitchen. She taught me to prepare a leg of lamb and I use this method to this day.
The Halls liked to try different dishes; their favorite were Wiener Schnitzel and a Mocha cream dessert which was requested often. The Halls were kind and appreciative and sad when I gave notice.They had hoped I would stay months or years longer but I needed to turn my life into a different direction.
Thank you Leslie Caron for sharing your remarkable life so far. You always were and are a classy lady!
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A career that transcends two Hollywoods 26 février 2010
Par Alec Howe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Like many celebrity memoirs, Leslie Caron's vacillates between chapters of personal revelation and chapters of name-dropping and giving intimate parties "for 200 of my dearest friends." How Caron transitioned from a shy, withdrawn fledgling to an in-the-know, well-connected Hollywood player is uncharted in the book, so there are many unanswered questions raised in the reader's mind. The blame for this would appear to lie with Caron's editor. In her opening chapter, she admits that she regretted delving too deeply and that her editor forced her hand in this regard. Not hard enough, perhaps.

That said, the book finally reveals a warmth and humor to the lady that Caron has hidden in interviews during the past 40 years. She has often gone on the record rather bitterly, describing MGM as a brutal factory that allowed no artistic invention on the part of actors, so her sweet, nostalgic recollections of old Hollywood were a pleasant surprise. In particular, Caron sheds new light on Fred Astaire -- beginning with a rather shocking rehearsal photograph that shows Astaire without his hairpiece, a first I believe. As DADDY LONG LEGS was made during a period of intense grief in Astaire's life, Caron was poised to see a side of him not many were privy to, and she reports on it with tremendous, if unexpansive, sensitivity. Again, editors of celebrity memoirs would do well to guide their authors regarding how much or little to reveal. Along with LILI, DADDY LONG LEGS was arguably Caron's finest hour on film, revealing an unbelievably natural, genuine "not even acting" quality missing from her later, more assured performances. Virtually nothing has been documented about DADDY LONG LEGS, and this would have been a terrific opportunity to delve deep into the making of a much loved, much underrated film. Fans of the movie will no doubt be happy with what little Caron has written about it, but boy, are we hungry for more.

In the end, THANK HEAVEN is significant on one level in particular: it's one of the first autobiographies whose subject fully spans both old and new Hollywood. We go from early mornings at MGM in 1950 all the way through independent filmmaking in the late 1990s-2000s, from Gene Kelly and Judy Garland to Louis Malle and Juliette Binoche. Watching Caron navigate her way, and her description of her changing stature in the eyes of others, emerges as a genogram of the changing of the guard, crystalizing for the reader what was gained by the collapse of the studio system (artistic independence) and what was lost (movies that matter).

I'm glad Caron was there, and I'm glad she's here.
14 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Glass Slipper of Hollywood Fame 28 décembre 2009
Par Kevin Killian - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
My friend the novelist Bruce Benderson author of Pacific Agony has been trmupeting this book far and wide, and he has never steered me wrong yet, so I opened my Amazon account and ordered it pronto. I have to say that it is one of the most evocative movie star memoirs I have ever read.

Growing up during World War II in a middleclass family left open to the privations of war, little Leslie learned how to dance as a way of escaping the strange dreams of her mother, one of the oddest characters in all of nonfiction. The mother seemed to want to live Leslie's life for her: brother Aimery seemed to escape Maman's iron will due to his gender. Caron brings us backstage into her life of early stardom as one of Roland Petit's principal dancers: it is here that Gene Kelly apparently saw her and clapped his hands and voila! Caron and Maman were in Hollywood as the "guests" of MGM. As always, memoirs of the final days of Louis B Mayer's MGM are always welcome, they are so bizarre and the men and women who passed through his rule came out the other end utterly changed (some for the better, of course). The collapse of the studio system took its toll on their identities, and Caron seemed to want to put away her toe shoes, and study heavy dramatics under the tutelage of Jean and Dido Renoir, Christopher Isherwood, and the British wunderkind Peter Hall whom she eventually married.

Mistake! Well, not so bad a mistake as her first husband, a wealthy eccentric from the Hormel family. Cultural differences and Hormel pride prevented Leslie until too late from discovering that her handsome bridegroom was a grade A nut! Peter Hall just comes across as small minded, jealous and cruel, and yet now Caron can say she did love him and he did give her two wonderful children. Outside of that--pfui! She made a huge impression in the early 60s reinventing herself as the unmarried mother in a "kitchen sink" drama THE L-SHAPED ROOM, and then she met Warren Beatty and it was Peter Hall who? Beatty brought her back to Hollywood and for a brief period they were the most glamorous couple in town. He poured cold water over her dreams however by laying stress on the fact that she could not be Bonnie to his Clyde (in the 1967 Arthur Penn movie) not because she was French, but because she was so old! Tut tut, and the next thing she knew he had replaced her with a Bolshoi ballerina, then Julie Christie.

Throughout, Caron's natural delicacy and humor battles with a newfound urge to tell her life the way it was really lived. Every page has some La Rochefaucauldian pensee on love, on death; and yet every page has some hot gossip about some star of the past one has just barely heard of. I never wanted it to end! Thank you, Bruce Benderson! And thanks Leslie Caron.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Caron, Candid and Conflicted 30 mai 2013
Par Gary Lee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Leslie Caron has written a densely packed, consistently engaging memoir that seems outstanding in two ways.

First, she doesn't write from the perspective of the lofty star who deigns to allow a peek into her fabulous life for "the little people out there in the dark" (to quote Norma Desmond). Rather, she writes as an ordinary person who unexpectedly, almost inexplicably, found herself a Hollywood star, and describes for us what it was like without ever losing her sense of being "one of us," real and grounded. As a multi-talented dancer, actor, author, hostess, inn-keeper, chef, developer and designer, she never lets her accomplishments go to her head. It's all in a day's work to Caron. She shows us the effort that has gone into each phase of her long career that has spanned both the old and the the new Hollywood, three marriages, motherhood, affairs (most famously with Warren Beatty), a sporadic stage career, being a friend to the famous, finding and remodeling a number of homes, and persevering through a grueling stint as a businesswoman in building and running her auberge in the French countryside.

Frankly, I wasn't sure by the end of the book whether I actually liked Caron, although I certainly admire her. I have seen her interviewed in person at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills, where she was charming and yet a bit remote with the audience. But as the book makes clear, she is someone you could definitely approach to borrow a cup of Tide at the laundromat. And she'd probably have some useful tips to go with it on how to get the most out of the machine.

Second, she remains generous to virtually everyone she mentions in the book--and as a international hostess to the highest of society in London as well as an international star for six decades, the number of impressive names she has known is dizzying. You KNOW not all of them could have been wonderful. But Caron never wavers in the latitude she affords others. The few she admits she didn't care for--Kirk and Michael Douglas, David Niven--she mildly dismisses with a line or two. The same with her imperious family. Even when they hurt her the most deeply, she is not out to even the score. Her career and persona were frequently compared to that of Audrey Hepburn, a European ballet dancer who also suffered greatly as a young woman during the war, then was plucked from obscurity in the early '50's to play gamine leading roles in Hollywood. Caron carefully mentions Hepburn in connection with the casting for GIGI. Curiously, she never indicates that they actually ever met, though it seems inconceivable that they didn't know each other. Is Hepburn's absence from the narrative an example of Caron's reticence concerning a rival? She also has surprisingly little to say about Lerner and Lowe. Rather than evidence of star ego (as in, "I alone made GIGI a triumph!"), these lacunae may be due to Caron believing that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all--further proof of the lady's class.

Caron's story seems to be one of a girl who was dealt a good hand for her start in life, developed character early on through severe hardship, then enjoyed some incredible luck as a young woman and had the sense to make the most of it, although not without struggle. In her commendable honesty, she even allows us to glimpse a certain bleakness in her life. Yet she has endured, and conquered much: difficult parents, war, declining family fortunes, the rigors of the ballet world, the demands of the Hollywood studio system and its subsequent collapse, a discouraging search for fulfilling acting roles, a thwarted stage career, unhappy marriages, the media glare in her years with Beatty, the daunting challenge of establishing a successful inn that led to loneliness, addiction, depression, and ultimately, recovery. The title, THANK HEAVEN, might be a bit misleading, as Caron never gushes with gratitude for all she has experienced. Her portrait on the book cover strikingly reveals her stance toward life: the almost classical pose and gracious smile combined with the self-protective gesture. As in the text, she has revealed herself without losing her poise and elegance. Her book takes its place amongst the more thoughtful and gratifying Hollywood autobiographies.
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