Gracie: A Love Story (George Burns, aka Nathan Birnbaum 1896-1996) - Putnam - 1988 - 319 pages

Those of you born after 1960 probably do not appreciate the brilliance of Gracie Allen (1895-1964).  She was the most popular comedienne in vaudeville, radio and the early days of black-and-white television.  As a member of the Burns & Allen comedy team, she delivered her lines flawlessly with a smile and the demeanor of an optimist who never had a negative word to say about anyone.  I remember her on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show on our small Zenith screen.  The show ran from 1950 to 1958 with George giving the straight lines to Gracie and then explaining the action to the television audience.  Gracie was a reluctant performer who did not really want to act in movies or on television but did so very well and created the character that nobody has been able to duplicate.  Her early death was a shock to her fans and to her partner of 40 years.  To his credit, George Burns finally agreed to write this biography/memoir at the age of 92.  It is a gift for the ages.  This biography of Gracie Allen is the only one you need to read. [JAM 11/25/2016]