Who the hell is Orry-Kelly and why should you buy his memoir?
Let us tell you…
– Orry-Kelly was the professional name of Orry George Kelly, an Australian who was, during the 1950s, one of the most famous names in the film industry, winning three Academy Awards for his work on An American in Paris, Les Girls and Some Like It Hot.
– Orry-Kelly died of liver cancer in 1964, and told friends he was working on a memoir that he wanted published. Nobody could find it until recently, when residents at his former home found them stored in a pillowcase!
– Born in Kiama, he travelled to New York in the hopes of becoming an actor, sharing an apartment with Carey Grant.
– He made a living painting murals for illegal underground bars before falling in love with set and costume design.
– He was a close friend of Hollywood immortals like Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Tony Curtis, Katharine Hepburn, Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon and Ava Gardner just to name a few.
– He knew how to make an Oscar speech…
Women I’ve Undressed
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. In Women I’ve Undressed, he shares a wickedly delicious slice of it.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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