Synopses & Reviews
Born into a family blessed by genius and plagued by tragedy, Oona lived in the shadow of greatness from an early age. One of the most exquisite and enigmatic beauties of her generation, she intrigued the public for decades. Now, in this stunning biography, new light is shed, at last, on the mystery that was...
The daughter of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill, Oona mixed easily among Manhattan's cafe society and was named New American Debutante of the 1941-42 social season. But at just eighteen she shocked the world by running off to Hollywood and marrying a man thirty-six years her senior: the brilliant and controversial Charlie Chaplin.
From the child who yearned for her absent father's love, to the woman who became the mainstay in an extraordinary marriage; from the dedicated wife and devoted mother of eight to the devastated widow, this book reveals a spirit as fascinating as the geniuses who surrounded her. Extensively researched, Oona's story is rich with exciting insights into her successful union, her world of celebrity--Hollywood in its heyday--and the allure and intellect that made her a heroine in her own right.
Her father, the only American playwright to receive a Nobel Prize, was a chronic alcoholic. When she was a child, her father deserted her; when she turned 18, he disinherited her. Her older half-brother, a Pulitzer Prize-winning classical scholar, and her younger brother, a drug addict, each committed suicide. A product of New York society, she was accepted at Vassar, but chose instead to seek an acting career in Hollywood. There she met her future -- and only -- husband. He was the comic genius of motion pictures and 36 years her senior. She was America's darling. Why did she give up everything to marry a much older man? Did she "stifle" herself? Were her children good to her? Were there other men? And, most crucial, how did she escape the family curse of alcoholism and mental illness? This in-depth biography sheds light on a truly fascinating woman and the many extraordinary people whose lives touched upon hers.