On January 23rd, 2017, Sara Brideson, a very dear friend of mine and an extremely talented author, passed away suddenly. Sara was a sensitive and sweet-natured young woman who was graced with the gift of writing. Along with her twin sister, Cynthia, Sara authored a number of fine books relating to one of her passions - classic films.
Also Starring : Forty Autobiographical Essays on the Greatest Character Actors of Hollywood's Golden Era, 1930-1965 was their first collaboration. This book stemmed from essays these sisters had written for Turner Classic Movies' Classic Film Union and features a wonderful selection of character actor biographies : Elsa Lancaster, Frank Morgan, Edna May Oliver, Eric Blore, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Davenport, and Marjorie Main to name just a few. Sara's favorite actress was the delightful Billie Burke ( Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz ) who is also one of the actresses profiled in this book.
Sara also loved the films of Judy Garland ( Meet Me in St. Louis ), Gene Kelly ( Summer Stock ), Hayley Mills ( That Darn Cat and Summer Magic ), and Harold Lloyd. In addition to writing, she loved to draw and often sketched her favorite stars.
Sara and Cynthia's second book was the highly acclaimed Ziegfeld and His Follies : A Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer ( 2015 ) which was nominated for the Theatre Library Association's Freedley Award ( check out Liz Smith's rave review of the book here ).
"Theater-loving sisters Cynthia and Sara Brideson shine fresh and stimulating light on the genius of one of Broadway's greatest impresarios. Rich in research and broad in perspective, the Bridesons' book frames the classic revue era of the New York stage with a reverential but honest approach to Florenz Ziegfeld's extraordinary personality and career."―Examiner.com
Shortly after completing this book, Sara and Cynthia plunged into writing He's Got Rhythm : The Life and Career of Gene Kelly, a biography that took two years to complete. This book had several setbacks and has only recently become available for pre-order with a release date scheduled for May 2017.
I miss Sara a lot, and some day I hope that I can learn to write as well as she did and in some small way pay homage to my most talented friend. However, right now I hope He's Got Rhythm becomes the smashing best-seller it deserves to be. Sara would be so proud!