30 review for Jack Benny: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    P.J. Taylor

    Perhaps not as good as Sunday Nights at Seven but, nevertheless, I still rather enjoyed this biography of Jack Benny as told through the eyes of his wife, Mary Livingstone and his brother-in-law. Definitely worth reading if, like me, you enjoy the timeless humour of Jack Benny....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    As any fan of Jack Benny will tell you, we are unlikely to see a man like him ever again. Easily the most beloved entertainer of the twentieth century, Jack knew everybody and everybody loved Jack. This is the second biography of Benny that I've read - the first being "Sunday Nights at Seven" by his daughter, Joan. This book, written by his wife and brother-in-law/producer, strikes a slightly different tone. As mentioned in other reviews, the book feels sanitized, not quite whitewashed but unequ As any fan of Jack Benny will tell you, we are unlikely to see a man like him ever again. Easily the most beloved entertainer of the twentieth century, Jack knew everybody and everybody loved Jack. This is the second biography of Benny that I've read - the first being "Sunday Nights at Seven" by his daughter, Joan. This book, written by his wife and brother-in-law/producer, strikes a slightly different tone. As mentioned in other reviews, the book feels sanitized, not quite whitewashed but unequivocally more of a pasteurized, squeaky-clean thumbnail than an in-depth memoir. Most disappointing was how little was said of his friendships with those at the 'Hillcrest Round Table' (Burns, Jessel, Marx, Jolson, et al.) and while the first 2/3 of the book were pleasurable, the wheels certainly come off in the final 100 pages with several chapters spiralling off into loosely connected anecdotes told by those who only knew Jack for a relatively brief time. Don't get me wrong, I deeply loved this book as it is full of absorbing, delightful stories I had not read, or heard, before. If you can get your hands on a copy it'll be a hard book to put down!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    I seldom read books twice, and I really didn’t mean to read this one twice – except I didn’t think I’d finished it; then half-way through I realized I had finished it, but decided to keep with it. While a nice biography of Jack Benny, in a way, it’s almost a very long obituary. There are quotes and reminisces from most of Benny’s radio/television cast and major Hollywood stars from the time. Seeing as this was written by Benny’s wife, Mary, and his brother-in-law/producer, everything in the Benn I seldom read books twice, and I really didn’t mean to read this one twice – except I didn’t think I’d finished it; then half-way through I realized I had finished it, but decided to keep with it. While a nice biography of Jack Benny, in a way, it’s almost a very long obituary. There are quotes and reminisces from most of Benny’s radio/television cast and major Hollywood stars from the time. Seeing as this was written by Benny’s wife, Mary, and his brother-in-law/producer, everything in the Benny’s household/relationship was “happy” or “nice.” Not that I want the dirt in a biography, and from everything I’ve read, Jack Benny was a saint, still, this feels very sanitized. A nice read for the Jack Benny fan.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I've enjoyed Jack Benny's comedy since I was a kid, so it's nice to find out more about the man himself. Although the final third of the book reads like a eulogy, and indeed includes at least one actual eulogy, the rest of the book is an interesting biography. I've enjoyed Jack Benny's comedy since I was a kid, so it's nice to find out more about the man himself. Although the final third of the book reads like a eulogy, and indeed includes at least one actual eulogy, the rest of the book is an interesting biography.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    It's interesting that people are saying this is "sanitized" or "too nice" because his wife wrote it, but from what I've read elsewhere, it's accurate. I was reading The Masters Way to Beauty (which my mom used to own) by the Hollywood stylist George Masters and he basically says that Jack and Mary were like newlyweds because they were so affectionate and nice to each other. He says that Jack was nice to him, too, and some husbands were not. (George really told some tales in his book, so I don't It's interesting that people are saying this is "sanitized" or "too nice" because his wife wrote it, but from what I've read elsewhere, it's accurate. I was reading The Masters Way to Beauty (which my mom used to own) by the Hollywood stylist George Masters and he basically says that Jack and Mary were like newlyweds because they were so affectionate and nice to each other. He says that Jack was nice to him, too, and some husbands were not. (George really told some tales in his book, so I don't think he'd hold back!) It seems like this really was a love match and this "too nice" version is actually accurate.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Howard Fox

    Don't know how much liberty was taken with the story of Jack's life, but a wonderful and heartfelt telling nonetheless. Don't know how much liberty was taken with the story of Jack's life, but a wonderful and heartfelt telling nonetheless.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I did not like the way the book was written. At first it was interesting to have stories and anecdotes from his friends and family but then it got to be too much. By the middle of the book i was sick of hearing stories from his friends and just wanted the basics of his life. It was also confusing at points to determine who was "talking" and who the writer was. I did not like the way the book was written. At first it was interesting to have stories and anecdotes from his friends and family but then it got to be too much. By the middle of the book i was sick of hearing stories from his friends and just wanted the basics of his life. It was also confusing at points to determine who was "talking" and who the writer was.

  8. 5 out of 5

    D G

    The more I learn about Jack Benny, the more I love him. He was hilarious, interesting, and so talented. He was also a very kind person to all. His respect and friendship with Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was evident. People loved "Rochester" as much as Jack! I enjoyed this book so much, and also the book Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story The more I learn about Jack Benny, the more I love him. He was hilarious, interesting, and so talented. He was also a very kind person to all. His respect and friendship with Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was evident. People loved "Rochester" as much as Jack! I enjoyed this book so much, and also the book Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    A fair account of his life. A more in depth version would be written by historians. Mary and her brother wrote a very light story. No info on his friendship with George Burns, etc... Then again, this show biz giant has lived a long life...it should take a few books to tell about his life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    Adulatory; full review to come

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Barksdale

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wburns

  13. 5 out of 5

    Exapno Mapcase

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Arlene Falge

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Gould

  17. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Lanae

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Wilking

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

  20. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dana

  22. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Brand

  23. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Kline

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lori

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Monroy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne McMullen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

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