She opened the door for fun-loving bawdy women and it’s never been shut since.
Her name was Sophie Tucker. She was a Vaudeville star with a twinkle in her eye and a gift for suggestive humor. She wasn’t traditionally beautiful. She was the child of Jewish immigrants who owned and operated a restaurant in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was put to work at an early age as a waitress.
La Sophie found that she could earn bigger tips as a singing waitress.The rest was inevitable, and she was destined to become a part of entertainment history.
Zaftig Sophie, billed as the “Red Hot Mama,” worked not only in Vaudeville but in Radio, Film, Theater and Television – every media during her time – until the day she died.
The book, I AM SOPHIE TUCKER by Susan and Lloyd Ecker, is as entertaining as I suspect Sophie was herself. They went to see Bette Midler on their first date and were inspired by the Divine Miss M’s routines about Sophie Tucker to find out more about her. Susan and Lloyd visited 14 different archives while researching it. They decided – wisely – to call it “A Fictional Memoir,” since so many of Sophie’s stories had the hint of tall tales about them that it was hard to uncover what was true and what was “slightly revised,” which I say with a wink. From the moment I opened this book on the bus, I was laughing out loud at Sophie’s antics. I just couldn’t help myself.
Without putting any spoilers in here, I’d like to suggest that readers approach this book as you would an Agatha Christie novel. Contained within it are a few scenarios that make no sense initially – but all is revealed a bit later. In other words, pay close attention. It will definitely add to the fun!
The authors have also got a Sophie Tucker movie, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker, that is about to be released nationwide, and I truly can not wait to see it. Bring it on! (Read the book first, though!) Here’s the movie trailer:
Bette Midler, by the way, named her daughter after Sophie.
Long Live Sophie Tucker!