Cover image for Sophie Tucker : first lady of show business
Sophie Tucker : first lady of show business
Fields, Armond, 1930-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 264 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Welcome to America -- Breaking in -- The Mary Garden of ragtime (1) -- The Mary Garden of ragtime (2) -- Vaudeville stardom -- Celebrating cabarets -- Risky business -- At the top of her game -- Burning up the boards -- Honky tonk -- Escape to London -- Looking back over her shoulder -- The labor union blues -- Fast becoming a legend -- The glory years -- A fabulous character.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.T89 F5 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Sophie Tucker appeared in only seven American stage musicals and appeared only twice on Broadway but, then, it was difficult to cast her in a show. A buxom and ebullient performer, she--and her audiences--quickly found that playing herself was most effective. This is a biography of a vaudeville and cabaret performer who saw herself as one of the first liberated women and one of the last "red hot mamas." It tells the story of her birth as her mother traveled to Boston from Russia, her childhood in Boston, and her first public performance at Poli's Vaudeville Theatre at the age of 13. It also tells the story of her troubled marriage to Louis Tuck and the birth of their son, her meeting with Willie Howard, a vaudeville veteran who encouraged her to go to New York and pursue a stage career, her discovery by Flo Ziegfeld (of the Ziegfeld Follies), and her rise to headliner status under the guidance of her agent William Morris. She was best known for appearing on stage with just a piano player, and openly discussing her life and Jewish upbringing.

Author Notes

Armond Fields is a social historian specializing in American popular theater

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Introductionp. 1
1. Welcome to Americap. 7
2. Breaking Inp. 18
3. The Mary Garden of Ragtimep. 32
4. The Mary Garden of Ragtime (2)p. 44
5. Vaudeville Stardomp. 55
6. Celebrating Cabaretsp. 71
7. Risky Businessp. 85
8. At the Top of Her Gamep. 102
9. Burning Up the Boardsp. 123
10. Honky Tonkp. 136
11. Escape to Londonp. 148
12. Looking Back Over Her Shoulderp. 164
13. The Labor Union Bluesp. 184
14. Fast Becoming a Legendp. 194
15. The Glory Yearsp. 210
16. A Fabulous Characterp. 227
Epiloguep. 246
Notesp. 251
Selected Bibliography and Source Materialp. 255
Indexp. 259