Taking its inspiration from Sanders’s own autobiography Memoirs of a Professional Cad (1960), this book is part witty, bawdy, and irreverent memoir, part moving meditation on the price of fame; like most of David Slavitt’s work, it defies easy categorization.In George Sanders, Zsa Zsa, and Me, Slavittlooks back to his career as a film critic in the glamorous—at least superficially—world of 1950s Hollywood, when he traveled in circles that included the talented British actor George Sanders (1906–1972) and his then-wife, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was talented at, well, being famous.
Sanders, who seemed to maintain an ironic detachment from roles that were often beneath him, nonetheless couldn’t bear the decline of his later years and committed suicide at the age of sixty-five. Darkly humorous to the end, his note read, "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck." Zsa Zsa, on the other hand, remains in the headlines (with her dubiously named husband Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt) at age ninety-two. Although he punctuates his story with witty asides—the author’s encounter with Marilyn Monroe is particularly memorable—Slavitt turns a critic’s eye toward questions of talent and art, while also tackling the difficult and universal questions of aging, relationships, and mortality.