Al Hirschfeld knew everybody and drew everybody. He occupied the twentieth century, and illustrated it. Hirschfeld: The Biography is the first portrait of his life--as spirited as his distinctive pen-and-ink drawings.
Beginning in the 1920s, he caricatured Hollywood actors, Washington politicians, and--his favorite--celebrities of the stage. Broadway belonged to Hirschfeld. His work appeared in The New York Times and other publications, and on book jackets and album covers, posters and postage stamps, for more than seventy-five years.
He lived in Paris, Moscow, and Bali, and in a pink New York townhouse on a star-studded block where his closest pals--S. J. Perelman, Brooks Atkinson, Carol Channing, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elia Kazan, William Saroyan, and Marlene Dietrich--trooped in and out. He played the piano, went to jazz joints with Eugene O'Neill, and wrote a musical that bombed. He drove until he was ninety-eight and always found a parking space. He worked every day, threw dinners twice a week, and hosted New Year's Eve parties that were legendary. He had three wives, a formidable agent, and a daughter, Nina, the most famous little girl no one knows.
Hirschfeld died in 2003, at ninety-nine. "If you live long enough," he liked to say, "everything happens." It did--and, good and bad, it's all here. Through interviews with Hirschfeld himself, his friends and family (including the ubiquitous Nina), and his famous subjects, and working from letters, scrapbooks, and home movies, Ellen Stern has crafted a delightful, detailed, and definitive portrait of Al Hirschfeld, one of our most beloved, and influential, artists.
About the Author
Ellen Stern wrote the Best Bets column in New York magazine for ten years and was a writer and editor at the New York Daily News, the East Side Express, and GQ. Her books include The Very Best from Hallmark, Once Upon a Telephone, Sister Sets, Threads, and Gracie Mansion. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, she graduated from Juilliard (piano) and lives in New York City.