The Jessie Matthews Home Page
The 3 main books about Jessie, are:
"Over My Shoulder" - beautifully illustrated with 70 photographs,
a fascinating insight from Jessies personal perspective as told by Muriel Burgess;
"Jessie Matthews - A Biography" - definitive, objective work by Michael Thornton with 35 well chosen photographs, and comprehensive stage, film and disc-ogrpahies. Excellent read.
"The Jessie Matthews Songbook" - Featuring 21 songs from her stage and screen career,and attractively illustrated with 10 pictures candid shots, sheet music and programme covers.
First issue covers and liner notes.
Gamine, her haircut in a fringe, young Jessie Matthews smiled her ecstatic smile as she danced her way, high kick after high kick, through revue and musical comedy galore. But she was the kid with success in her hands and disaster round the corner.
In her frank autobiography, Jessie Matthews throws a piercing spotlight on her famous past. What was the secret she had to hide? Why did she always reach out hungrily for the uncertain elusive happiness of love? What was the nightmare that she feared so bitterly would come true? Behind that wistful glance, thrown over a glamorous sequined shoulder, lay both tragedy and a strange kind of triumph.
One of eleven children, born to poverty and life in Soho, with her costermonger parents, she soon had her sister Rosie urging her to stardomb. 'Our Jessie' didn't walk, she danced and Rosie was determined the world was going to know all about her. First a member of C.B. Cochran's chorus, Jessie was soon an international film star, one of the first sexy pin-ups, the waif with sex appeal.
But her private life was stormy, a sensational divorce case threatened her career. In the '40s, with overwork, stress and people failing her, Jessie became the victim of an out-moded system that crushed her, wanting to lock her away from the world.Jessie Matthews' autobiography makes fine and fascinating reading. Tender and touching, it is the story of a woman who refused to go down and who finally came back to us the warm-hearted Mrs Dale of the famous radio serial, winning against the past...... 1974.
Jessie Matthews was the sex symbol of the 1930's. An elfin-like beauty with huge and brilliant eyes, she was billed as Britain's Dancing Divinity and seemed to float across the creen like thistledown.
Born into poverty in the backstreet slums of London's Soho, she became the most glamourous princess of the screen. But at the pnnacle of her international fame, she figured in a sensational court case when she was cited by another famous star Evelyn Laye, in Miss Layes's divorce action against her husband, Sonnie Hale. The Judge's comments created headlines all over the world, and shortly afterwards it was considered 'inappropriate' to present her to the King and Queen of England when they went to see one of her films.
Then, at the peak of her career, came a series of nervous breakdowns, two miscarriages, the failure of her second and third marriages, and more than a decade of eclipse.
The profound effect of these disasters on her unusual psychology, and the heart-warming story of her sudden re-emergence as a plump, sunny grandmother of 56, to become radio's new Mrs Dale and the paragon of seven million daily listeners, are told with fascinating authority by Michael Thornton, a close friend of Jessie Matthews for many years, in this first biography to be published of a great and truly evergreen star.....1974
The Jessie Matthews story was a film romance in itself. She was the London street urchin who danced for pennies in the slums of Soho, and who rose to become Britain's most sparling song and dance film star of the 1930s.
The magic of Jessie Matthews endures today in her few recordings and her charming films, which are still shown - but all too rarely - on television and in festivals of vintage British Musical pictures.
Amoung the songwriters who created material for her were such great names as Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart, Harry Woods, Mack Gordon & Harry Revel, Sam Coslow, and the legendary team of Sigler, Goodhart & Hoffman.
This delightful folio, selected mainly from her films, includes 21 of the most evocative songs she introduced in such musicals as "Evergreen", "First A Girl" and "Head Over Heels". The songs are all freshly engraved from the original arrangements for voice, piano and guitar, complete with lyrics, verses and introductions.....
Apart from the above books there have been many tributes, features, and magazine's. Of particular merit " The Play Pictorial" a fantastic contemporary magazine from the 1930s which contained in-depth reviews, features and many production stills of their chosen play each month.