Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman

A Life

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143114208
  • 352 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


More than twenty years after her death, Ethel Merman continues to set the standard for American musical theater. The stories about the supremely talented, famously strong-willed, fearsomely blunt, and terrifyingly exacting woman are stuff of legend. But who was Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, really? Brian Kellow’s definitive biography of the great Merman is superb, and the first account to examine both the artist and the woman with as much critical rigor as empathy. Through dozens of interviews with her colleagues, friends, and family members, Kellow traces the arc of her life and her thirty-year singing career to reveal many surprising facts about Broadway’s biggest star.


“ A vivid portrait of a Broadway diva who shone brighter and sang louder than anyone else.” —The Washington Post BookWorld

“ Dishy and seamless; he understands the dynamics of the theater world and makes you feel the exhilaration of an evolving hit and the frustrations inherent in working with a performer like Merman.”—The New York Times Book Review

“ A wonderfully vivid portrait of a unique Broadway star. You can almost hear Merman’s trumpet voice with every turn of the page.”—John Kander, composer of Chicago and Cabaret

“A fascinating read and a thorough theatrical history of her time. Loved it!”—Jane Powell
PRH Book Clubs Survey