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Publisher's Summary

Found in a pillowcase, the fabulous long-lost memoirs of a legendary Hollywood designer - and a genuine Australian original.

Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot.

He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. He was an Australian. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was - until now.

Discovered in a pillowcase, Orry-Kelly's long-lost memoirs reveal a wildly talented and cheeky rascal who lived a big life, on and off the set. From his childhood in Kiama to revelling in Sydney's underworld nightlife as a naïve young artist and chasing his dreams of acting in New York, his early life is a wild and exciting ride.

Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, and partying hard in between auditions, he ekes out a living painting murals for speakeasies before graduating to designing stage sets and costumes.

When the kid from Kiama finally arrives in Hollywood, it's clear his adventures have only just begun.

Fearless, funny and outspoken - Orry-Kelly lived life to the full.

©2015 Orry-Kelly (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dana
  • Texas
  • 08-07-15

This 11 hour+ book seems to fly by in 6 hours it's so engaging!

I really got into this book! I'm into Classic Movies & knew the name Orry-Kellly from his many credits on Turner Classic Movies. I've always been a fashion follower--with a Bachelor's degree in it. This book covers both of these interests & a lot more!
Lots of humor, Art, History, sprinkled with an Aussie geography lesson. A little slow at the start, but worth getting through to the heart of it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic insight into Orry-Kelly

This book is Orry-Kelly's story, told his way. It delves into his life and times, he treats everyone the same, from a star to strumpet, he tells it like it is. I found his description of Sydney fascinating which gave me a whole other feel for the city I live in. This book is very un tabloid. It's just Orry's story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A gossip column, not a book.

I am not a fan of "tell all" books like this. However, as a costume designer myself, I was excited to hear about someone else's experience in the field. Peppered in between some juicy celebrity stories, I was hoping for the author's inspirational stories of struggles- such as adjusting to America as an immigrant, fighting for his passion of costume design, and struggling to make it big in Hollywood etc etc. Wow was I disappointed!

I stopped and started this book three times before I finally put it down . I could not get to the end. I was so bored of listening to the author's stories about partying while his mother paid for his expenses, long lists of women who I don't know and what they were wearing at which party, and pointless gossip.

The narrator was very good. Other than that, this book was a complete snore and a waste of my time.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Focus: Early Life of a Hollywood Mainstay

I'm sure Orry-Kelly led a glamorous life. Unfortunately, there was very little glam in the book. It focuses a lot on his early years... the somewhat hard-scrabble times he went through which inevitably led him to Hollywood and fame as a top-tier designer for the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Film.

I guess, since this was written while some of his 'designees' were still alive, he didn't name drop as I had wished for fear of offending or of legal pitfalls.

I wanted the dirt but I got the edges of the mud puddle. Oh well.

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  • jacqueline rozenfeld
  • 11-25-17

Slow-moving and dull

I thought this book would be a lot more interesting than it was.I found it boring and disappointing

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  • Missanthropiclilmiss
  • 01-24-17

Orry-Kelly is someone I have heard off.

I have a love of old Hollywood movies. The films, actors and more often any stories associated with the making of these films.

I like reading Memoirs and Biographies. I have a side interest in Costume and Fashion Design, so the names of Edith, Adrian and Orry-Kelly are familiar to me.

William McInnes has done a great job of narration, it's a good idea to have an Australian tell an Australian story.

Orry-Kelly was a perfectionist and a hard worker, the only criticism I have is that Kelly would have used much better pronunciation for some of the non-English names, he was that professional. This was something he definitely wasn't lazy about. As far as I was concerned, McInnes was Kelly.

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  • Jane
  • 09-25-16

So interesting

I loved it and could not stop listening. The perfect narrator in William McInnes who brought it alive. I found Ory Kelly's story so interesting with much warmth along side incisive reflections of the people he met and worked with. A hidden Australian well worth recognition.