Cover image for Alice Faye : a life beyond the silver screen
Alice Faye : a life beyond the silver screen
Elder, Jane Lenz.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 313 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


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PN2287.F39 E43 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Alice Faye's sweet demeanor, sultry glances, and velvety voice were her signatures. Her haunting rendition of "You'll Never Know" has never been surpassed by any other singer. Fans adored her in such films as Alexander's Ragtime Band , Rose of Washington Square , Tin Pan Alley , Week End in Havana , and Hello, Frisco, Hello .

In the 1930s and 1940s she reigned as queen of 20th Century Fox musicals. She co-starred with such legends as Shirley Temple, Tyrone Power, Carmen Miranda, and Don Ameche and was voted the number-one box-office attraction of 1940, placing ahead of Bette Davis and Myrna Loy. To a select cult, she remains a beloved star.

In 1945 at the pinnacle of her career she chose to walk out on her Fox contract. This remarkable episode is unlike any other in the heyday of the big-studio system. Her daring departure from films left Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck and the rest of the movie industry flabbergasted. For years she had skirmished with him over her roles, her health, and her private life. His heavy-handed film editing of her fine work in Otto Preminger's drama Fallen Angel , a role she had fought for, relegated Faye to the shadows so that Zanuck could showcase the younger Linda Darnell.

After leaving Fox, Faye (1915­1998) devoted herself to her marriage to radio star Phil Harris, to motherhood, and to a second career on radio in the Phil Harris­ Alice Faye Show , broadcast for eight years. She happily gave up films in favor of the independence and self-esteem that she discovered in private life. She willingly freed herself of the "star-treatment" that debilitated so many of her contemporaries. In the 1980s she emerged as a spokeswoman for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, touring America to encourage senior citizens to make their lives more meaningful and vital.

Before Betty Grable, before Marilyn Monroe--Alice Faye was first in the lineup of 20th Century Fox blondes. This book captures her special essence, her work in film, radio, and popular music, and indeed her graceful survival beyond the silver screen.

Jane Lenz Elder, a librarian at Southern Methodist University, is the author of Across the Plains to Santa Fe and The Literature of Beguilement: Promoting America from Columbus to Today . She is co-editor of Tr ading in Santa Fe: John M. Kingsbury's Correspondence with James Josiah Webb, 1853-1861 .

Author Notes

Jane Lenz Elder is a librarian at Southern Methodist University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Elder (Southern Methodist Univ.) provides ample evidence of Faye's popularity as a singer and star of many (mainly) forgettable movies. By 1940 Faye had eclipsed Judy Garland, but Faye was always more gifted as a singer than as an actress and she apparently knew it. At the age of 30, after a ten-year movie career, she turned her back on Darryl Zanuck and Hollywood while still at the top of her game. Singing with Rudy Vallee's band got Faye her first lead, in the movie Scandals (1934). As radio audiences of the 1940s were well aware, Faye was happily married to bandleader Phil Harris, for 54 years, until his death in 1995. Elder is more interested in the person than the star celebrity, and she avoids the current craze for finding and exploiting scandal and smut. This pleasant, readable, competently researched biography would be useful for any popular culture collection aspiring to be comprehensive. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. J. M. Welsh Salisbury University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
Chapter 1. Broadway Babyp. 11
Chapter 2. Vallee's Satin Dollp. 30
Chapter 3. Scandalsp. 48
Chapter 4. New Studio, New Starp. 68
Chapter 5. Breakthroughp. 83
Chapter 6. Treadmillp. 99
Chapter 7. Queen of the Lotp. 118
Chapter 8. So This Is Harrisp. 138
Chapter 9. Movies and Motherhoodp. 157
Chapter 10. Goodbye Foxp. 175
Chapter 11. Return to Radiop. 193
Chapter 12. Celebrity Fulfilledp. 213
Epiloguep. 235
Filmographyp. 249
Bibliographical Essayp. 263
Bibliographyp. 295
Indexp. 301