WHEN THE NOVEL Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis was first published in 1955, it became an instant hit and national bestseller. More than forty years later, it was brought back in print in a trade paperback edition and has, again, proven to be a commercial success. ABC is currently planning to air a two-hour special Auntie Mame movie starring Cher, and Mame is headed back to Broadway for the 2004 season. Now, industry insider Richard Tyler Jordan—who works as a senior publicist for Disney—provides an engaging and amusing historical look at the makings of this legendary and fictional character, and the impact it had on numerous lives and careers, including such celebrities as Rosalind Russell, Angela Lansbury, and Lucille Ball. But Darling, I'm Your Auntie Mame! colourfully chronicles the novel's journey from book to stage to play to film to Broadway musical and then film version of the musical. Filled with gossip and descriptions that bring every character life, But Darling, I'm Your Auntie Mame! vividly brings to life the character that combines the most interesting features of Tallulah Bankhead, the Duchess of Windsor, Cinderella, and a touch of Princess Diana tossed in for good measure.

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From Publishers Weekly

Auntie Mame indisputably belongs to the pantheon of modern theatrical creations who have ascended from character to archetype, the grand old dame who initiates her young nephew into the joys of life in the big city. Generations of fans are certain to delight in this slight but entertaining anecdotal history of Auntie Mame's theatrical journey from a bestselling novel by Patrick Dennis to stage play to film (Auntie Mame) to Broadway musical and then film version of the musical (Mame). Jordan, a senior publicist at Walt Disney Studios, takes readers through the birthing process of each of these productions, filling his pages with reminiscences from those who lived them. The original play revived Rosalind Russell's faltering career; later, the musical did the same for Angela Lansbury. Judy Garland was interested in replacing Angela Lansbury when she departed after 775 performances, but the producers feared that Garland, who was brilliant in her audition, could not manage eight shows a week. When casting the movie version of Mame, Lucille Ball, who had a huge “Q” rating (public awareness level), was cast despite the apprehension of many theater and film people. Their fears were well taken: the reviews for the film in general and Ball in particular were scathing. Filled with wonderful anecdotes and backstage gossip, this is a colorful overview of how a now-classic play and musical, after some near-misses along the way, came to life.