Marie Dressler by Betty Lee
The Unlikeliest Star

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



" She was homely, overweight, and over the hill, but there was a time when Marie Dressler outdrew such cinema sex symbols as Garbo, Dietrich, and Harlow. To movie audiences suffering the hardships of the Great Depression, she was Everywoman, and in the early 1930s her charming mixture of pathos and comedy packed movie theaters everywhere. In the early days of the century, Dressler was constantly in the headlines. She took up the cause of the "ponies" in the chorus lines, earning them better pay and benefits. She played in productions organized to raise money for the women's suffrage movement. And during World War I she claimed she sold more liberty bonds than any other individual in the United States. Dressler was an astute observer of public mood and taste. When she was lucky enough to find work in the newly minted Hollywood talkies, she grabbed the brass ring with fierce enthusiasm, even making three films in the year before her death, when she was so sick she had to rest between scenes on a sofa just out of camera range. The two-hundred-pound actress's remarkable stage presence captivated audiences even though her roles were not Hollywood beauties. She played tough, practical characters such as the old wharf rat in Anna Christie (1930), the waterfront innkeeper in Min and Bill (1931) -- for which she won the Academy Award for best actress -- the aging housekeeper in Emma (1932), and the title role in Tugboat Annie (1933). She spoke honestly to her audiences, and troubled people in the comforting darkness of the Depression-era movie theaters embraced her as one of themselves.


About Betty Lee

See more books from this Author
Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
Published August 28, 1997 by The University Press of Kentucky. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marie Dressler

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

(Lee handles speculation about Dressler's sexual inclinations with inference and concision.) Despite the author's good research and clear affection for Dressler, this lacks the historical and cinematic authority to establish it a standard.

| Read Full Review of Marie Dressler: The Unlikelie...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Described at various points in her life as an ""elephant,"" a ""clown,"" a ""man-repellent ugly-duckling"" and a ""monstrosity"" but also, somewhat paradoxically, as a ""grand dame,"" Dressler, who weighed 300 pounds when she died of cancer and heart failure, is shown in her full complexity, from...

| Read Full Review of Marie Dressler: The Unlikelie...

Reader Rating for Marie Dressler

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review