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Don't Fall Off the Mountain


Don't Fall Off The Mountain
Originally Published 1970

This is no ordinary memoir by a movie star. Miss MacLaine is no ordinary movie star. There is, of course, the public career that has taken her the top of her profession - via roles in such films as The Apartment, Irma La Douce, Some Came Running - and removed her from a roach-ridden walkup in New York to a house with a view of the San Fernando Valley. She tells that story. But beyond her career, she has an insatiable curiosity about people and places, and a sense of identity with the entire human race which has led her to decidedly un-Hollywood adventures.

Shirley MacLaine has lived among the Masai in Africa, wandered through India, lived in Japan, and climbed into the Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan, where only a few Occidentals have ever penetrated. She has been caught in a revolution, and spent time behind the scenes in the red-light district of Paris to prepare for a movie role. She has taken an active role in politics and has vigorously involved herself in problems of race.

Married to a man who works for at least half a year in Tokyo, Miss MacLaine tells of their strange and wonderful marriage. She writes of growing up in Arlington, Virginia; of years of ballet lessons; of making the rounds in New York; and of the miracle of finally being discovered; of the thrill and private loss of becoming a public success. This is an adventure story, a personal odyssey, a jaundiced view of fame, and an appreciation of mankind.

"Miss MacLaine writes with grace and wit, whether the subject is the cliché-loving, middle-class Virginia family' into which she was born, her 15 years of dancing lessons, her overnight leap from chorus line to movie contract, Hal Wallis, the Sinatra clan, Japan, India, Africa, Mississippi, Hollywood and other alien climes... What really distinguishes 'Don't Fall Off The Mountain' is Miss MacLaine's capacity and willingness to feel her way into 'other' realities... A brave and charming book."

— John Leonard, New York Times

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Don't Fall Off The Mountain
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