One of The New Yorker's favorite nonfiction book of 2019 | A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Named one of Vogue's "17 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Fall"
"Compulsively readable . . . ravenously consuming . . . manna from heaven . . . If ever someone knew how to put a genuinely irresistible book together, it's Jacobs in Still Here." —Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
Still Here is the first full telling of Elaine Stritch’s life. Rollicking but intimate, it tracks one of Broadway’s great personalities from her upbringing in Detroit during the Great Depression to her fateful move to New York City, where she studied alongside Marlon Brando, Bea Arthur, and Harry Belafonte. We accompany Elaine through her jagged rise to fame, to Hollywood and London, and across her later years, when she enjoyed a stunning renaissance, punctuated by a turn on the popular television show 30 Rock. We explore the influential—and often fraught—collaborations she developed with Noël Coward, Tennessee Williams, and above all Stephen Sondheim, as well as her courageous yet flawed attempts to control a serious drinking problem. And we see the entertainer triumphing over personal turmoil with the development of her Tony Award–winning one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which established her as an emblem of spiky independence and Manhattan life for an entirely new generation of admirers.
In Still Here, Alexandra Jacobs conveys the full force of Stritch’s sardonic wit and brassy charm while acknowledging her many dark complexities. Following years of meticulous research and interviews, this is a portrait of a powerful, vulnerable, honest, and humorous figure who continues to reverberate in the public consciousness.
New York Times editor Jacobs explores the life of colorful and brash actor Elaine Stritch (1925 2014) in this celebratory biography. Stritch was born in Detroit, Mich., into a middle-class Catholic family and moved to New York City in 1943 "in pursuit of fun, music, nightclubs, and theater." So began a legendary, boozy career that would include roles on Broadway (in No l Coward's Sail Away and Stephen Sondheim's Company, among many others), in films (Woody Allen's September and Small Time Crooks), and on television (most notably in Tina Fey's 30 Rock). Jacobs moves meticulously through Stritch's decades on the stage, from her audition for the road company of Oklahoma! shortly after her arrival in New York, to such achievements as her 2002 Tony Award winning one-woman show At Liberty. The author covers Stritch's complicated relationships with men (including her sex-deprived marriage to actor John Bay), her loneliness, and her struggles with alcoholism. She captures Stritch's big personality through amusing stories, including the time Stritch smuggled her dog into England in a bag. Jacobs ends by praising Stritch for her "wit, resilience, unusual forthrightness, and courage." This book, lush with detail and heavy on Broadway history, will appeal to Stritch fans and theater geeks everywhere.