Monday, April 23, 2007


The careers of writers and performers have always fascinated me. Sometimes their lives are more interesting than their work. Mark Evanier's magnificent site News from Me is a daily account of careers large and small, packed with information you're unlikely to find anywhere else.

I mention this because of a fine Anthony Lane piece New Yorker piece about Barbara Stanwyck. You can read it by simply logging on to the New Yorker website.

Bill Pronzini wrote a long piece on Gil Brewer that I will have here on its own link very soon. It's one of the most moving, despondent looks at the life of a free-lance writer ever put to paper.

Bad decisions, addictions, making the wrong enemies, falling out of fashion--from the mightiest of us to the most humble, each of us is prey to mistakes that can serously damage if not end careers.

I remember a nightclub singer named Don Cornell saying with great assurance to Jack Parr one long ago night that rock and roll had peaked and that real singers were about to reclaim the music charts. Dn admitted that he hadn't been getting a lot of club work lately.

I remember Faye Dunaway, years after its release, trying to make some sense of the damage Mommy, Dearest had done to her career. I agreed with her. I didn't care much for the movie nor her performance. But look at all the actresses who had done over the top films and had gone on successfully from them. But there was some inexplicable aspect to her performance that neither ciritcs nor audiences could ever quite forgive. And her career has never recovered.

Billboard magazine used a computer to figure out that most major pop stars have a five year run at the top. No more, no less. There are only a few exceptions.

Seeming to be aware of this, Kenny Rogers on local TV allowed as how he was into his "fourth year" and he sure hoped that he could beat the five year jinx. His voice was plaintive as he said this. He even sounded a bit afraid.

I suppose that's part of the appeal of life stories about writers and performers. The fear. It makes for great drama. Just ask Faye Dunaway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frank Sinatra lasted forever because his songs were full of love and hope and joy and tenderness. His daughter Nancy lasted about two minutes. One ugly and mean song, These Boots are Made for Walkin', stamped her forever.