I’m delighted to announce that Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed – the first full-length biography of the legendary 1920s actress in 85 years, co-authored with Eric Woodard – will be published by Bearmanor Media in June. More news to come, but until then, here’s a brief synopsis:
The true story is finally told about Jeanne Eagels, legendary Broadway star as Sadie Thompson in Somerset Maugham’s Rain, celebrated silent movie actress, and Academy Award-nominated superstar in The Letter. She lived a life of renown, yet her rise to fame, her romances, her triumphs, her relentless perfectionism, and her fragile health propelled her into increasingly erratic behavior and a shocking climax that stunned the entire world. Illustrated with nearly 150 rare and unseen photographs.
Marilyn Monroe fans may recognise my writing partner as the author of Hometown Girl and Travilla Film Fashions. Eric has also created a book trailer for Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed.
Fans of trad jazz will notice that the music accompanying this video is, of course, ‘Wabash Blues’. Sadie Thompson, the loose-living heroine of W. Somerset Maugham’s Rain, played this record incessantly while entertaining her sailor friends during a sojourn on the South Seas – much to the annoyance of her priggish neighbours.
In 1922, Sadie became Jeanne Eagels’ most famous stage role, and while Rain has since been filmed several times, those who saw it first on Broadway insisted that her incendiary performance was never equalled.