Cover image for Dizzy & Jimmy : my life with James Dean : a love story
Dizzy & Jimmy : my life with James Dean : a love story
Sheridan, Liz.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Regan Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 293 pages : portraits ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2287.S3719 A3 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN2287.S3719 A3 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A long time ago, when I was a young dancer in
New York City, I fell in love with Jimmy Dean
and he fell in love with me.

So begins this beguiling memoir of Liz "Dizzy" Sheridan's passionate yet ill-fated romance with the young, magnetic, soon-to-be-supernova James Dean. The year was 1951. Dean had recently arrived in Manhattan in search of Broadway stardom. Sheridan was a tall, graceful aspiring dancer. They met one rainy afternoon in the parlor of the Rehearsal Club, a chaperoned boardinghouse for young actresses -- and before long Dizzy and Jimmy were inseparable. Together they hunted for jobs, haunted all-night bars and diners, and gloried in the innocent rebellion of early-'50s bohemian New York. Dizzy Sheridan and James Dean were lovers; they lived together; as even ardent Dean fans may be surprised to learn, they were engaged to be married. But when Dean began to find success on the Broadway stage and then was lured to Hollywood, the couple parted amid tears and broken dreams -- dreams that would be dashed forever when Dean died in a car crash in 1955, not long after seeing Dizzy for the last time.

Dizzy & Jimmy marks the first time Liz Sheridan has written about this joyous yet ill-starred romance. She brings us closer than we have ever been to the vibrant young actor before he became a Hollywood icon, capturing his unstudied charm, his complicated psyche, the spontaneous delight he took from the world around him, and the passion he invested in his work and life. It is a journey that takes in many locales, from Dean's boyhood home in Fairmount, Indiana, to Sheridan's recuperative travels through the Caribbean after their breakup. But at its heart Dizzy & Jimmy is the story of a love affair with Manhattan -- of nights spent stealing kisses in Times Square, sharing a walkup in the Hargrave Hotel, dancing after hours beneath the stars in Grand Central Station. And in Sheridan's bittersweet, embraceable telling, it becomes a story no reader, Dean fan or otherwise, will soon forget.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Sheridan (Jerry's mom on Seinfeld) once costarred in a real-life love story with perennial pop-cultural tragic hero James Dean. She gives us a "sweet and funny" saga that other writers have assayed but misplayed, she says. Once engaged to Dean, she ought to know: "after Jimmy was killed only one person was left in the world who knew what happened between us. Me." She is the Dizzy in the title, by the way, and she met Dean when both were aspiring actors in the early `50s. They began to exchange non sequiturs spontaneously in the parlor of a dormitory. He was attracted to her wit and her nickname, and so their relationship began. As far as Dean biographies go, Sheridan's is notably gentle and lacking in either self-promotion or salaciousness. A memoir of the icon as a young actor, it makes an interesting addition to the Dean literature. --Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sheridan, best known as Jerry Seinfeld's TV mother, reveals her love affair with James Dean in a brief book replete with moony dialogue, prescient remarks about Dean's driving habits and a 1950s New York setting. The effervescent Sheridan, known as Dizzy, was a dancer living in a theater district residence hall for aspiring actresses when she met the 21-year-old Dean, an Indiana farm boy who had come to New York via Hollywood. Their instant attraction was soon consummated. Sheridan portrays Dean as a sometimes corny romantic, who immediately began talking about being "together forever" and who needed "always to touch and be touched." While Dizzy managed to work, dancing in nightclubs all over New York or in summer stock musicals, Jimmy was either more unlucky or more choosy, and brooded over his disappointments. Though she touches on Dean's moody episodes and regular, unexplained disappearances, as well as his disclosure of a homosexual liaison with a California producer helpful to his career, Sheridan doesn't claim that her memoir is a complete account of Dean's New York years. (For example, there's no mention of his acceptance into the Actors Studio in November 1951.) When Dean was cast in a bound-for-Broadway production, he moved easily away from Sheridan. Dean got enthusiastic notices in See the Jaguar, although the play closed in a few days, and the affair never rekindled. Sheridan's feelings for Dean, her pain upon their separation and on his untimely death a few years later, are sweetly rendered and seem genuine, although the details are filtered though a romanticized lens. B&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Two love stories. One funny and sweet. One curious but poignant. Both authors linked by a coincidence: they were both characters on the TV sitcom Seinfeld. Before Stiller played George Costanza's father on Seinfeld, he was one half of the comedy team Stiller and Meara, a successful collaboration, in part because Anne Meara was his wife. This is not only the story of Stiller's rise from poverty to become a successful actor and comedian but also the story of a "showbiz" marriage, the unlikely pairing of a Jewish boy and an Irish girl who struggled to stay together for over 30 years. It's a very straightforward memoir with lots of insider, "showbizzy" anecdotes. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.