Sitting Pretty: The Life and Times of Clifton Webb by Clifton Webb

By Clifton Webb

More than the other male superstar, the sophisticated Clifton Webb (1889-1966) prompted the movie-going public to alter its picture of a number one guy. In an afternoon whilst prime males have been presupposed to be powerful, virile, and courageous, Clifton Webb projected a picture of turn, acerbic vanity. He used to be capable of play every little thing from a decadent columnist (Laura) to a fertile father (Cheaper by way of the Dozen and The awesome Mr. Pennypacker), supplying strains in an urbanely clipped, acidly dry demeanour with impeccable timing. Sitting Pretty is his impressive story.

Long prior to his movie profession all started, Webb was once a toddler actor and later a suavely effete song-and-dance guy in different Broadway musicals and revues. The turning aspect in his occupation got here in 1941 whilst his friend Noël Coward solid him in Blithe Spirit. Director Otto Preminger observed Webb's functionality and solid him in Laura in 1944.

Webb started to write his autobiography yet stated he finally had gotten "bogged down" within the strategy. even if, he did entire six chapters and left a hefty number of notes that he meant to take advantage of within the proposed e-book. His writing is as witty and complex as his onscreen character. these six chapters, info and voluminous notes, and private learn via the coauthor offer an intimate view of an amazingly gifted man's lifestyles and times.

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Even I began to sprout. In my second year I somewhat unaccountably won an Honorable Mention at the school’s annual show. That same year I took first prize for the most original costume at the Students’ Ball . . an honor in which Mabelle shared, for she literally forced me to make up as Eddie Foy singing his current song hit, I’m a Poor Unhappy Maid. A r t a n d Op e r a 35 I’m a poor unhappy maid On the shelf for years I’ve stayed My poor heart it itches To mend someone’s britches I’m a poor unhappy maid Spurred by these scattered laurels, I began to consider abandoning my theatrical ambition in favor of becoming America’s premier artist.

I loved it. The rich drama of the liturgy Th e N o s e s H a v e I t 17 moved me profoundly. I recall the clean, cool smell of the corridors, the nuns’ soft, musical voices and the incredible innocence of their faces framed by the starched, white coifs. One winter’s day, in honor of some saint whose name I never did know, we children knelt on the altar steps while our throats were blessed by the priest. This was designed as a preventative against colds, sore throats, and diphtheria, provided that one had reached the required degree of faith.

He explained that according to custom immemorial, a new member stood the class to beer and sandwiches. That evening I informed Mabelle that I had joined the Life Class and required three dollars. The words, “Life Class” passed over her head, but a demand for three dollars called for explanation in view of the rickety A r t a n d Op e r a 33 state of our bank balance. I indulged in some roundabout verbosity, however, and she kicked through handsomely. Next morning I handed the money to the monitor and took my place hastily, hoping to escape notice.

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