Richard Jordan's book chronicles four decades of Mame-mania -- the true backstage story of how one outrageous, larger-than-life character rescued Rosalind Russell from career oblivion, catapulted Angela Lansbury to legendary Broadway star, and nearly destroyed America's favorite comedienne, Lucille Ball. It is the story of one of Broadway's and Hollywood's most celebrated and enduring characters -- who declared: "Live! Live! Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!"u003cpu003eWithin weeks of publication in 1955, the novel Auntie Marne by Patrick Dennis was a best seller and talk of the nation. The subsequent stageplay, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee, was likewise a phenomenal success -- one of Broadway's longest-running comedies. The 1958 movie starring Russell was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture. A sequel to the novel, Around the World with Auntie Marne, appeared in 1957, also becoming an immediate best seller. Marne hit even greater heights when the Lawrence/Lee/Jerry Herman musical Marne opened in 1966. Lansbury and co-star Beatrice Arthur both won Tony awards for best perfomances. The musical ran a remarkable five years. Translated into 30 languages, the play and musical have not ceased being performed somewhere in the world since their original debuts.u003cpu003eLoaded with photographs from these many productions, Jordan's history is an insightful, often surprising, always entertaining story of the talented ladies who have made Marne one of the century's best-loved characters. He provides the reader with behind-the-scenes trivia, serious research, eyewitness reports, celebrity anecdotes, and lucid commentary. The result is a one-of-a-kindportrait of an amazing woman -- how it began and, probably, how it will never end.