Read Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper by Gypsy Rose Lee Erik Preminger Online


Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir became a New York Times bestseller in 1957, inspiring the 1959 hit musical, two movies, and three revivals. Now a fourth, directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Patti LuPone, is lighting up New York, winning top Broadway theatre awards, including three 2008 Tony Awards, as well as raves from critics and audiences: “No matter how long you live, youGypsy Rose Lee’s memoir became a New York Times bestseller in 1957, inspiring the 1959 hit musical, two movies, and three revivals. Now a fourth, directed by Arthur Laurents and starring Patti LuPone, is lighting up New York, winning top Broadway theatre awards, including three 2008 Tony Awards, as well as raves from critics and audiences: “No matter how long you live, you’ll never see a more exciting production.” —Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal “Watch out, New York! This GYPSY is a wallop-packing show of raw power.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times “Not your ordinary theater experience. This is the best production of the best damn musical ever.” —Liz Smith, Syndicated ColumnistThe memoir, which Gypsy began as a series of pieces for The New Yorker, contains photographs and newspaper clippings from her personal scrapbooks and an afterword by her son, Erik Lee Preminger. At turns touching and hilarious, Gypsy describes her childhood trouping across 1920s America through her rise to stardom as The Queen of Burlesque in 1930s New York—where gin came in bathtubs, gangsters were celebrities, and Walter Winchell was king.Gypsy’s story features outrageous characters—among them Broadway’s funny girl, Fanny Brice, who schooled Gypsy in how to be a star; gangster Waxy Gordon, who fixed her teeth; and her indomitable mother, Rose, who lived by her own version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others … before they do you.”...

Title : Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781883319953
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 408 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper Reviews

  • Alex
    2019-06-17 04:29

    Arthur Laurents once said Gypsy Rose Lee was "allergic to the truth", and while that might be true, this was still a fascinating book. I knew next to nothing about Gypsy Rose Lee - only what was shown in the musical version of this very book, but it got me interested enough to go out of my way to find this book and read it. And it was well worth the inconvenience. Even if the stories are slightly fudged, I get the impression that there is a great deal of truth in the book, and it is indeed a book worth reading. Gypsy was a very intelligent lady, and that intelligence shines through in her memoirs. Her tales of being a child in vaudeville and later her transition into the burlesque entertainer/strip-tease queen that we know her as today are engrossing, as is, of course, Madame Rose - the ultimate stage mother. If you get the chance I would definitely suggest picking up this book.

  • Rebecca
    2019-06-20 23:22

    Who knew that the most famous stripper of all time, Gypsy Rose Lee, wrote an autobiography? Well, she did. This is what the musical "Gypsy" was based on. If you like the musical, you will adore the book. It's full of hilarious stories about Gypsy's eccentric mother and goes much farther than the musical into Gypsy's life after she makes it as a stripper. There's also a great collection of photographs. Gypsy's writing style is fun and easy to read--she's at her best writing humor.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-06-12 04:20

    Of course she finesses a lot of details--they all did. But the parts that ring true (because I've seen echoes in so many autobiographies and biographies of early film stars who started from similar beginnings) are the harrowing details of life in vaudeville.I hope someone is doing a study of the life of the traveling players because that part of our history seems to have come to an end, and at least for the children dragged from flophouse to flophouse as their mothers and or fathers (usually mothers, I find) pursued their dream of fame and riches, maybe that's good.

  • Carrie
    2019-06-01 03:20

    When I was lucky enough to play the role of "Louise" (aka Gypsy Rose Lee) in "Gypsy", I found and read her autobiography - self written, it was an amazing view into an unusual, dysfunctional family (a mother and two daughters) and into the life of a strong, intelligent woman who made a permanent mark in show business. I loved every word and felt like I knew her personally when I was done, for someone who loves performing, it is a must read!

  • Kelly
    2019-06-08 02:36

    Spoiler: Her life is really sad and her mom is pretty delusional. But I guess Gypsy turned out pretty normal. Or like, or normal as someone can be with no education and a delusional parent. Also. I LOOOOOVE that they always had so many pets, even into her adult life. Good read. Easy too. A lot of name dropping that I don't know because I'm too young to know but otherwise, very interesting perspective of a very interesting life.

  • B.Barron
    2019-06-07 22:27

    The book is wonderful!And she is/was one of us - a Geek. When she was a kid she would read 'Weird Tales' magazine.She also had a wonderful way of looking at things, one in particular I adore:'You don't need to be religious to believe in God, just observantIf you have seen the movies you will love the book.

  • Carol
    2019-06-17 03:26

    I enjoyed this book written by a famous stripper on which the musical "Gypsy" was based. My only complaint was how abruptly it ended. I was reading a first edition of the original 1957 version, so I do wonder if the updated version tells more of the story.

  • Jennie
    2019-06-11 06:20

    The first half of this book was like candy for a musical theatre geek like me. It was fun to see where the musical came from - how awful Mama Rose really was in real life, how Louise and June were truly raised on the road, and how Herbie was more like a composite of a few different people than an actual person (though there was a similar character who the book referred to as "Gordon"). The afterword was also really sweet. Gypsy Rose Lee's son wrote about going with his mother to see the opening of the musical on Broadway, and about realizing during the song "Little Lamb" how desperately lonely his mother had been in her youth.But the second half of the book, all about her navigation of burlesque, wasn't that exciting. Perhaps that's why it was shortened into about 2 songs in the actual musical... or perhaps it's *because* I couldn't find relatable content from the show that it didn't feel that compelling.Anyway, it feels like a bit of musical theatre cred to my name that I've now read this memoir.

  • Maria
    2019-06-21 05:17

    As usual, the book was way better than the movie!!!

  • Alan M
    2019-06-22 05:43

    Fun and interesting autobiography. Worth reading. Gives a great view on vaudeville and burlesque.

  • C.S. Burrough
    2019-05-28 05:26

    This 1957 memoir follows the early life of Ellen June Hovick a.k.a. Rose Louise Hovick, alias Gypsy Rose Lee, who became a legend in her lifetime.The author was older sister of later Hollywood actress June Havoc. The pair began in Vaudeville as toddlers, managed under the tutelage of their mother. Baby June was the cute headliner with gawky Rose in the line up, the latter often in boys' clothes or a pantomime cow's rear end. When the maturing June deserted the act, Rose stepped out of the cow's behind and into the spotlight, becoming Gypsy. She became an icon of big time burlesque, as vaudeville outran its course and the options narrowed – she had to do something, with mouths to feed and a mother who had kept her from any schooling. Showbiz was all Rose had ever known when she made this fatalistic transition.She was a self-made lady, a raconteur, an entertainer of the highest order. Of the many (purportedly self-generated) myths about this original queen of reinvention, the greatest was that generated by the mists of time – that she was just a stripper. No such thing, she instead tastefully removed and discarded the odd glove, stocking or feather, shifting emphasis onto the 'tease' in striptease.Also an actress, author, playwright and radio talk host, Gypsy turned her talents in many directions. She was a formidable intellect, admired collector of rare objets d'art and antiques, widely read, conversant on a glorious array of cultural topics and one of the best dressed women in the public eye. A renowned philanthropist, she gave generously to and supported a vast range of worthy causes.Herein lies the inspiration behind Sondheim's blockbuster stage and screen musical Gypsy, considered by many the greatest American musical ever. Adaptations famously showcased a gorgeous young Natalie Wood in the 1962 movie's title role. As Gypsy's archetypal overbearing stage mother, Mama Rose, starred the wondrous Rosalind Russell, scoring the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Russell's role, earlier created onstage by 'brass diva' Ethel Merman, who won the 1959 Tony Award, became one of theatre's most coveted. Stage revivals have seen subsequent 'Mamas' Angela Lansbury, Patti Lapone and Bernadette Peters reap award after award.This is a gorgeously written, marvellously entertaining read from a woman with a heart of gold and the sheer, glittering class of showbiz royalty. I adored reading her anecdotes in this delicious memoir, never wanting to put it down and making excuses for early nights with her.Someone threw away the mold when this fabulous lady was made.

  • Paul
    2019-06-18 05:39

    Having never been to a strip club or "gentleman's club," I can't judge the value or hilarity of Gypsy Rose Lee's act. The thing that impressed me about her was her intelligence, her great sense of humor, and her obsessive lifetime reading habit. Although I read another (much duller) book about her that tried to distinguish all her lies and stories from what actually happened, this book, however fast and loose with the facts, is really well-written. The first stories were published in The New Yorker, and they are the best, although the quality doesn't trail off until the last two or three.Louise Hovick (Gypsy's birth name) had the stage mother from hell (although she didn't try to kill her, like Clara Bow's mother; or try to outdo her by breeding a red, white, and blue chicken, like Frances Farmer's mother). Gypsy's mother, Rose, was aggressive, a pathological liar and narcissist, and ruined Gypsy's and her sister's, June Havoc's, early life in vaudeville by forcing them to perform ridiculous simple-minded acts, in which June was "Baby June" until that no longer sold, then "Dainty June" until she was in her mid-teens, and she eloped with one of the boy dancers.When it was just Rose and Louise after June and the boy dancers had left, Rose decided to take Louise into burlesque, "until vaudeville came back again," which it never did. Rose even signed her up to strip--although she never did all the way--and they played sleazy clubs in disreputable areas of cities.So Gypsy became the equivalent of a .400 hitter in triple A baseball, even though she continually tried to make it on the legitimate stage and was never able to.Evidently her act consisted of her talking to the audience the entire time and doing such daring things as throwing pins into the tubas in the pit. She never claimed she could dance or sing, but her showmanship made her hugely popular. She lived a very wealthy life with at least two residences and a town car and decided she could never make the money in acting that she did in burlesque.She wrote two murder mystery novels, at least one of which I intend to read, and was a fairly brilliant writer for someone who'd hardly had a single normal day of schooling. It was all from her reading, she said.This book is really entertaining and gives a good glimpse into both the Roaring Twenties and the Depression. If the facts aren't always correct (for example, did her mother really shoot a cow from inside their tent?), the book is fun to read.

  • Julie
    2019-06-01 02:18

    Interesting-a glimpse of the early days of entertainment in America.

  • Denise Mullins
    2019-06-15 05:41

    When Christina Crawford's "Mommy Dearest" was released in 1978, it brought attention to family violence and the abusive nature of Joan Crawford towards her children. However, after reading Gypsy Rose Lee's memoir, the experiences she and her sister June endured with their mother make Joan Crawford appear like Mother of the Year. The book, written in the late 50s, is dedicated to Lee's son and intended to provide answers to his questions (ostensibly about her childhood and family life with her femininely "ruthless" mother). As a result, Rose Hovick emerges as the most narcissistic, manipulative, deceitful, and selfish matriarch imaginable, despite the "objective" first person narrative generously sprinkled with wry asides that Ms. Lee employs. And although the style is quite entertaining with detailed glimpses of life on the road, the pathological infantilizing of June, and the insistence of denying Gypsy's femininity along with consistent deprecating remarks to destroy her self-confidence are disturbing to read.Of course, it is understood that as a memoir, this book's veracity should all be taken with a healthy grain of salt, but if a fraction of this is true( and based on historic events from Rose Hovick's brushes with the law), it's still a strong indictment against a malevolent mom.Unfortunately, this section of the book is also the most interesting as the rest neglects to mention Gypsy's own three divorces, her son, or her own life in depth once she escaped the constant control of her mother. The narrative becomes flat and merely seems to catalogue various performance reviews and work history. In fact, it leaves the impression that her life lacked any true sense of fulfillment, belonging, self-worth, or love. Sadly, an afterword by Rose's son that might have provided insight into her later life is also somewhat disjointed and vague. But perhaps this lack of closure ultimately embodies the famous burlesque queen whose performance relied on ribald humor and the ability to tantalize an audience as a substitute for those lacking essentials of her personal life.

  • Katie J Schwartz
    2019-06-24 00:24

    Gypsy: Memoirs of America's Most Celebrated Stripper is, well, exactly what it sounds like -- the life story of the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee, the undisputed queen of the burlesque strip-tease. Like most, I'm familiar with Gypsy Rose Lee because of Arthur Laurents' 1959 musical (having been in a community theatre production of it during high school). When I realized that the musical was based on this book, I decide to give it a go, and see what I did and didn't recognize.What I Liked:- The entire story is told in a very matter-of-fact way. There are no deliberate attempts at creating drama, nor is any of the natural tension "fluffed up" for the reader.- I really enjoyed the photo inserts. They cover Lee's entire life, and I applaud her courage in including awkward childhood pictures.- Wow, what a memory! Ms. Lee was in her forties when this book was published. I'm in my twenties now, and I can't remember my childhood half as well as she seems to remember hers.- This isn't really anything to do with the book itself, but as I read it, I realized how masterfully adapted the musical is. It takes the high points and makes them higher, grabs onto subtle character flaws and makes them thematic, and streamlines the entire story without making it unrecognizable.What I Didn't Like:- This book is billed as a memoir, but it hedges on autobiography. It covers almost all of Lee's life, starting with performing in fraternity lodges as a small child, and ending with her success in the Ziegfeld Follies. While I enjoyed its completeness in a way, it did drag a little at some points.Four Stars: This book was really really good and I'll definitely recommend it to people with relevant interests.

  • Surymae
    2019-06-02 04:26

    Dalla lettura si evince chiaramente come Gypsy Rose Lee, a parte spogliarsi, non è che sappia far molto nella vita. Senza dubbio scrivere non è tra le sue doti nascoste. L'autobiografia (romanzata?) riesce ad intrattenere egregiamente il lettore, ma stringi stringi, a lettura finita, rimane poco tra le sua mani. Troppo spazio viene dedicato al prima dell'avvento di Gypsy, in particolare all'infanzia dominata dalla sorella June. Dopodiché, il ritmo accelera fin troppo: si ha quasi l'impressione che la nostra voglia glissare su molti aspetti della vita della ballerina di burlesque... la maggior parte, forse. Sorprendentemente parca è anche la parte relativa alla vita privata: il libro, recita la dedica, è stato scritto affinché il figlio non si faccia domande, ma non credo che tale obiettivo sia stato raggiunto. Gypsy non pone mai abbastanza l'accento su temi davvero interessanti come il sotterraneo conflitto con la madre - donna da cui tenersi alla larga il più possibile - June, ed anche la sua iniziazione agli uomini e all'amore. Come si pone una donna che campa dell'eccitazione degli uomini, del gioco del vedo-non vedo, nei confronti del sesso, di una relazione stabile? Risulta molto difficile credere che la nostra, che di certo non è una stupida, non abbia un'opinione in merito. Ne mettesse a parte anche il lettore...?L'autobiografia non è brutta di per sé, anche se molti dei suoi contenuti probabilmente non sono da prendere per oro colato, ma manca quello che dovrebbe avere un'autobiografia come si rispetti: la vita vera. Altrimenti, che differenza c'è con un semplice romanzo, o con uno spettacolo teatrale?

  • Melinda
    2019-06-09 06:19

    I have always found Lee to be a very fascinating woman, I attribute this to not knowing a whole lot about her outside of vaudeville/burlesque. I was always left wanting to learn more, a certain mystique surrounded her adding to my curiosity. I decided to read her words and story in hopes of discovering more.Once again I find mystique surrounds Lee. Her story is fairly generic, she doesn’t divulge a plethora of information, rather just enough to add clarity to the audiences assumptions. Really no surprises were revealed from her mighty pen. She throws in bits and pieces of her unconventional childhood, and overbearing conniving mother. Describes vaudeville forward to burlesque. You recognize her business savvy giving merit to her being far more than a pretty face.Mentioning her son Erik is about as personal as Lee manages. No reference to the father of her son or her romantic relationships discussed.There are plenty of historical references tossed about serving as the source of navigation since Lee omits specific dates in referencing her life experiences creating a level of frustration for the reader.In all certitude, Lee possess a quiet grace, perhaps this can be a credit for her strong desire for privacy. On stage she revealed just enough and it carried over to offstage. She is a legacy an enigma to her fans, a lady, and memorable in many ways.

  • Kevin
    2019-06-16 00:47

    "I found it irresistable. It's quite a performance. I bet some of it is even true, and if it wasn't, it is now."- John Steinbeck This sums up exactly how I feel about Gypsy Rose Lee's Memoirs. Her sister June Havoc wrote two memoirs, one of which covers this same period. I'm now seeking these out to see how the events in them compare. These memoirs are constructed almost cinematically, beginning with a 'present day' Gypsy, who, when snowed in, is asked questions about her life by her son, facilitating the 'flashback' of the rest of the book. Several of the stories are too over the top to believe, but maybe they are the truth. Other stories start to take on a sameness, where the surroundings are described, then a problem arises, which Gypsy's mother Rose then sets about to solve in a flamboyant fashion. If I could compare it to a work of fiction it would be Patrick Dennis' 'Auntie Mame'. Despite this sameness in some stories, it is a fascinating work, showing the sometimes absurd existence of vaudeville and burlesque performers. It also becomes quite poignant in sketching out a different concept of family and women's lives. The older Gypsy Rose Lee's tour with Fanny Brice serves as an epilogue that wraps up all these themes in a neat and cyclical way.

  • Gwen
    2019-06-19 05:44

    I read the original 1957 version, so I'm missing all the extra information and chapters from the newer releases. The first two sections of this book were fabulous: delightfully dysfunctional, full of ridiculous stories about her mother, and a retrospective on vaudeville and traveling acts. The last section of the book felt rushed and completely dissociated from the first sections--was there a radical time jump that I missed to leap forward what felt like 10 years? I didn't quite understand how she fell into stripping or what it even meant to "strip" in the 1930s and 1940s. (But maybe updated editions explain this better.) The stage version I saw did a much better job of explaining her new career and how it happened.

  • Jessica
    2019-06-08 02:28

    So I guess when you read a book about a person who also penned said book about themselves you should expect a bit of a hagiography and a whitewashing of the facts and times of their life. This book smears over the details to make them all nice and creamy and buttery. No mention of her husbands or marriages. She glosses over the estrangement and reconciliation between her sister June and her. She cheerfully recounts her childhood as an adventure and nary complains about a lost childhood. This near constant polishing of her life tarnishes the integrity of what could have been an amazing autobiography.

  • Mara
    2019-06-18 02:45

    Autobiografia della prima star del burlesque - un libro pieno di ironia ed autoironia . La descrizione della vita di una scalcinata compagnia teatrale nell’ America degli anni a cavallo della depressione del 1929 e’ divertentissimo.Il burlesque , inizialmente snobbato perche’ non “teatro”, diventa prima un mezzo di sussistenza e poi il trampolino per la fama, fino ad arrivare ad Hollywood. Il tutto senza mai perdere di vista che , per una star, il vero imperativo e’ : « Che se ne parli bene, che se ne parli male, l'importante è che se ne parli »

  • Deodand
    2019-06-23 00:17

    This book definitely feels like memoir, impressionistic in nature, a mix of truth and fiction. It was very interesting but kind of glosses over the bit where Gypsy learns to take her clothes off on stage. One day she lowers her shoulder strap, the next she's in a tease costume, the next she's a world famous burlesque performer. There had to be some interesting psychological insights in the moments between.There is quite a bit of animal cruelty in this book, just the nature of vaudeville I guess.

  • Melanie
    2019-06-16 23:29

    I've often heard about Gypsy Rose Lee, but didn't know anythign about her. In Topeka the Jayhawk Theater claims to be the home of her debut. Well, though this book I learned they were stretching the truth, but it was still a signifant moment in her life. I didn't know what to expect when I picked this book up. I thought it would be much more scandelous than what it really was. It was easy to read, along with some good humor. I wish she would have continued and talked about her Hollywood years. This is a great book to read about a strong woman with no regrets.

  • Marti
    2019-06-07 22:19

    What an outrageous family, especially Mama with Gypsy coming in second. If anyone ever thought his or her family was disfunctional, they have only to read this memoir to be disabused of that idea. It is almost unbelieveable to read of the various adventures. I think that I have seen a video of the musical, but I'm not sure. She got to meet and interact with a lot of famous people, including Fanny Brice, whose story also became a musical. The afterword by her son Erik Lee Preminger is interesting, but nowhere is it explained who his father was--Otto?--and what happened then in her life.

  • Korynn
    2019-06-19 05:44

    An entertaining show-biz yarn written by the infamous strip artist Gypsy Rose Lee. The biography is fairly linear and deals mostly with Gypsy's truly fearsome mother Mamma Rose and amusing tales of hard vaudeville life and her turn as sole breadwinner after the self-liberation of her sister "Dainty June." Certainly more illuminating than the musical but stops dead at the point that Gypsy leaves New York for Hollywood in the 1940's leaving her biography unfinished.

  • Colleen
    2019-06-09 06:34

    A fascinating autobiography, which became the musical/movie that she's probably more famous for now. Interesting how it was adapted from this, besides how frequently Fanny Brice is mentioned throughout (they were best friends), since Funny Girl/Funny Lady is the other mainstay musical of the vaudeville era.

  • Tammy
    2019-06-23 23:43

    This was the book that inspired the Broadway show and later 2 movies. I feel for the person who had to decide which stories to cut for time - and there were many. Each chapter moved the story along, but also stood alone, more or less, as a little story. I enjoyed it, and took it with a grain of salt. She is an entertainer and it is an entertaining book.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-30 00:20

    The best autobiography I have ever read- this is a humour driven memoir of life on the road with a pushy mother and star sister and how Gypsy 'accidentally' falls into the world of burlesque. I was surprised how funny it was and really enjoyed her style of writing and I now want to read her sons biography of life on the road with his mother to see what his take on it was........

  • Kim
    2019-06-08 01:47

    I have seen the movie of "Gypsy" and I now want to read a biography about her that covers where this books ends. Since this is from Gypsy herself, I wonder how much was left out due to her lack of remembering or her own mind clouding what she remembered. I also would like to know more about why her mother was so driven. Stage mother was invented to describe her!

  • Jason
    2019-06-19 06:25

    Gypsy is my all-time favorite musical, so I really enjoyed this book and learned more about Gypsy and her strong-willed mother. Although I am learned that the musical didn't follow her life exactly in a lot of ways, this book is far from disappointing to me. Anyone who enjoys celeb biogs will really enjoy this one.