NEW YORK, July 15, (AP): Barbara Cook has won a Tony Award, a Grammy and she’s a Kennedy Center honoree. But the thing she seems most pleased about these days is her latest title — author.
The 88-year-old singer, whose buttery soprano enlivened Broadway originals such as “The Music Man,” ‘’She Loves Me” and “Carousel,” has written the memoir “Then & Now” and hasn’t really gotten over it.
“So I guess I’ve written a book, haven’t I?” she said by phone. “It’s made me feel that I can do anything if I try. If I can write a book, then I can do anything.”
The memoir is an often frank look at her grim childhood in Atlanta, her triumphs and failures onstage, her affairs and battles with panic attacks, weight gain and alcoholism.
“I just sat down and wrote straight from the gut,” she said. “Why do it if you’re not going to be honest?”
The bright lights of Broadway seemed very far away when Cook was young. Her baby sister died of pneumonia when she was 3 and her father left when she was 6. She was raised by her far-too-clingy mother, who blamed young Barbara for both the death and the abandonment.
“If I had to give a color to my life during the years before my daddy left, it would all be a golden sunny yellow. After he walked out it changed to a heavy, dull gray,” she writes in the book.
Cook made it to Broadway and became one of the leading ingenues of the 1950s. She married and had a baby, divorced and struggled with her inner demons before reinventing herself as an in-demand solo artist, often tackling Stephen Sondheim songs.
The book contains Cook’s impressions of such luminaries as Elaine Stritch, Hal Prince and Leonard Bernstein, and also describes her hitting rock bottom as a drunk: “I was so broke that I was stealing food from the supermarket by slipping sandwich meat in my coat pocket.”
One strong theme emerges: While Cook frequently turns to men — whether collaborators or lovers — it “turns out I was stronger than all of them put together, only I didn’t know it at the time.”
Cook said she resisted writing her life story for a long time but realized that lately she had been peppering her solo shows with stories from her past and realized her journey might give some inspiration.
“It occurred to me I have had many ups and downs in my life and maybe if someone came to this book with an open mind, if they were in need of help, that they might find some help there. They might see that it was possible to go through difficult times and come out the other end.”
She dedicated the book to her son, Adam. “Of all the people I’ve loved in my life, I’ve loved him more, I think,” she said. “He has read the book now and he just says, ‘This is wrong’ or ‘That is wrong.’ I told him to write his own book.”
Just days after ending his campaign and endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders is preparing to take his message to the printed page.
Thomas Dunne Books told The Associated Press on Thursday it will publish Sanders’ “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In.” The book is scheduled to come out Nov. 15, a week after election day. It will include both his policy ideas for the future and reflections on his surprisingly strong run in the primaries.
The 74-year-old Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, attracted millions of voters with his blunt rhetoric and progressive agenda of raising taxes on the rich, overhauling campaign financing and providing universal health care and free college education.
“Bernie Sanders quickly became the leader of the progressive movement within the Democratic Party,” Dunne said in a statement. “Garnering over 13 million votes, winning 23 primaries and caucuses, and receiving more than 7 million individual donations to his cause, he energized the party as he fought for the average American with unrelenting energy and passion. (The book) will be an inside account of this extraordinary campaign, and will also provide a blueprint for future political action. Its message: the fight has just begun.”
Financial details were not disclosed. Books on presidential campaigns are an established publishing genre, but it’s unusual for a candidate to reach a deal so soon after the race and to have the book come out soon after the election. In a statement to the AP, Thomas Dunne said a Sanders book was first suggested to him earlier this year by the Washington-based agent Ronald Goldfarb, with whom the senator has mutual friends. Sanders was initially too busy to consider the project, but decided “a book about his philosophy and ideas coming out after the election was a good idea.”
The publisher said he and Sanders reached an agreement a few weeks ago.
“Throughout the year, both Bernie and his wife, Jane, kept records and notes. Sanders is using these as the basis for much of the text,” Dunne said, adding that Sanders will write the book himself.
“He will write about his early life as well as the campaign and the issues he cares so passionately about. Moreover, the final section, presently called ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ will outline a program of progressive activism for the coming years, a cause he is passionately committed to. “
The book could well offer a critical take on Clinton, as Sanders often challenged her on her ties to Wall Street and questioned her willingness to take on wealthy special interests. It’s not uncommon for copies of a book to leak a week or more before the release date, raising the possibility that any negative comments on Clinton could be seen before Election Day.
Sanders is co-author of a previous book, “Outsider in the White House.”