Monday, July 6, 2009
Now THIS is Perseverance!
This is Florence Foster Jenkins, and although she was definitely a little crazy, I really have to give this woman props. She had some serious balls.
All Florence wanted to do was sing. She begged her dad to send her to voice lessons, which he flat-out refused to finance. She ended up getting married and made a bit of cash by teaching and playing the piano. She and her husband (who was also a big fat killjoy on the singing thing) got divorced in 1902, and when her father died in 1909, she took her inheritance and finally began to pursue her passion...
...which most everyone who heard her agreed that she was terrible at. Wikipedia has an audio clip - seriously. She was bad. Nonetheless, she acknowledged and subsequently ignored criticism, blowing it off as "professional jealousy" and even at one point saying, "People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing." Too true, Florence. Too true.
She gained a following that was both smitten with and amused by her, and in 1944 at the age of 76, she was convinced to perform at Carnegie Hall. You could say the turnout was pretty good for a gal with no pitch, rhythm, or singing talent in general - the concert sold out weeks before the event. A month after the biggest performance of her life, she passed away, presumably with a shit-eating grin on her face. She may have been delusional, but dammit, she was happy!
She's even making a comeback. In 2005, a play called Glorious!opened in London about Florence's life, starring Maureen Lipman as Florence.
With that much delusion and denial, she definitely deserves to be on the crazy list. But damned if I haven't become a little smitten with her myself!