The Drama Book Shop is pleased to welcome author Ellen Stern to celebrate her new book, Hirschfeld: The Biography. Stern will discuss her new book about the famed artist with critic and theatre historian David Finkle on October 9th, 2017 at 5:30pm. The discussion will be followed by a signing. Admission is free and open to the public.
Ellen Stern has been a writer and editor at New York, GQ, and the Daily News. In magazines she has profiled such institutions as ‘21,’ the Russian Tea Room, the Staten Island Ferry, Madame Tussauds, Marc Connelly, the New Amsterdam Theatre, the last Shakers, the Brill Building, and Frank E. Campbell’s Funeral Chapel. Her books include Once Upon a Telephone, Threads (with designer Joseph Abboud), Sister Sets, and Gracie Mansion—with mayoral drawings by Al Hirschfeld. She graduated from Juilliard and lives in New York.
Hirschfeld: The Biography (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is the first definitive biography of the legendary Al Hirschfeld, the caricaturist of Broadway. Al Hirschfeld knew everybody and drew everybody. Beginning in the 1920s, he caricatured Hollywood, politics, and notably the theater: Broadway belonged to Hirschfeld. His distinctive drawings appeared in The New York Times and other publications 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, 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 became legendary. He had three wives, a formidable agent, and a daughter, Nina, the most famous little girl no one knows. (Finding her name in his pictures became a national pastime; finding her is a far more interesting pursuit.) He 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 in Hirschfeld. Through interviews with the artist himself, his friends and wives, celebrity subjects, agent, daughter, and more; with access to personal correspondence, journals, home movies, and scrapbooks, Ellen Stern brings Hirschfeld and his world to life.
The Drama Book Shop, currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary Year, is located at 250 West 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Events are free and open to the public. For more information, or to browse the shop's online bookstore, visit www.dramabookshop.com.