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Jacqueline Susann Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Every Night, Josephine! (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Valley of the Dolls (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Love Machine (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Once is Not Enough (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dolores (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Yargo (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jacqueline Susann was a bestselling American Actress and novelist that was best known for ‘Valley of the Dolls’, a book that broke sales and publishing records at the time it was released.

Jacqueline died in 1974.

Jacqueline Susann was born in 1918 in Philadelphia. Her parents were a portrait painter called Robert Susan and a school teacher by the names of Rose Jans. Susann was the Jewish couple’s only daughter and she mentioned on more than one occasion that they were unhappy.

Jacqueline wasn’t the best of students. Her teachers thought she was inattentive. However, the author wasn’t stupid. In fact, after she took an IQ test in fifth grade, she went on to record the highest score in the school.

But that occurrence did nothing to foster an interest in education. Her teacher told her that she should be a writer but Jacqueline Susann wanted to act. Part of that decision was driven by her adoration for her father.

The people who knew her will tell you that Jacqueline’s crush on Bob Susann was a little warped. She had a voracious and tactless sexual appetite as a young adult, not to mention a pretentious personality that her father not only inspired but also encouraged.

The author wasn’t as attached to her mother, though, calling her long-suffering and a rock against which she banged her head all her life.

By the time she left West Philadelphia High School in 1936, Jacqueline Susann was determined to forsake college despite the advice of her peers and guardians. Eventually moving to New York, it only took Jacqueline a year to land a role in the Broadway show ‘The Women’.

Unfortunately for Jacqueline, her performance during the rehearsals was so poor that they saw fit to replace her. But Jacqueline wouldn’t be deterred. She hung around the show for so long that her superiors were eventually convinced to give her a second chance.

The author went on to make appearances in Broadway shows like ‘My Fair Ladies’, ‘A Lady Says Yes’ and ‘Banjoy Eyes’ to mention but a few. In truth, most of Jacqueline’s earliest plays were failures.

That might explain why she decided to experiment with writing. Her first play, the first one she ever wrote, was a comedy called ‘The Temporary Mrs. Smith’. She produced it alongside an actress by the names of Beatrice Cole.

The show was no more successful than Jacqueline Susann’s previous productions, though. And she was no more successful with her next few plays. However, she did see somewhat positive returns from her television career, which included appearances on ‘The Amsterdam Show’, ‘Jacqueline Susann’s Open Door’ and ‘Danger’.

Jacqueline also did commercials. However, while her efforts on Broadway and on Television definitely elevated her visibility in the public conscious, she never succeeded in delivering, writing, or starring in anything that exploded into a bonified hit.

The author’s lifelong addiction to pills, which began the year she starred in her first play in New York, did not help matters. And neither did her relationship to Irving Mansfield, a press agent she married in 1939.

Not that Jacqueline worked hard to keep their marriage alive; it was probably because of the security of their marriage that the author felt confident enough to pursue affairs and sexual conquests that included trysts with the likes of Eddie Cantor (a comic) and J.J. Schubert (a producer).

The fact that she was so foulmouthed and spoiled, physically assaulting people in public did not endear her to any professionals in the entertainment industry. Few people sympathized with her decision to call her son ‘Guy’ simply because she wanted a daughter but had, instead, received some guy.

Her son’s eventual diagnosis of autism did not necessarily elicit him the author’s dedication; though, when Jacqueline was sick, she promised God that if he gave her ten more years, she would become a highly successful writer and make enough money to ensure that Guy was taken care of for the rest of his life.

The boy spent most of his childhood in institutions; after a while, Jacqueline was too immersed in her own battle with breast cancer to worry about him.

+Literary career
Jacqueline Susann’s literary career began when she wrote ‘The Stars Scream’, a science fiction novel that was only published after her death. Her true rise to fame came when she explored the drug use that littered show business in the book ‘The Pink Dolls’, and then turned the letters she had written to her poodle into the book ‘Every Night, Josephine’.

‘Every Night, Josephine’ was a massive hit that sold more than a million copies. Her next novel (Valley of the Dolls) was an even bigger success that some people called powerful and fascinating.

Interestingly enough, critics hated ‘Valley of the Dolls’. They thought it was too dirty. But that did not stop it from selling so many copies that it earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The book’s success earned it a film adaptation that featured Barbara Parkins, Patty Duke, and Sharon Tate.

It came as little surprise when ‘The Love Machine’, her next novel, came out and sold even more copies, also earning a film adaptation in 1971 that featured Dyan Cannon and John Phillip Law.

‘Once is Not Enough’ followed, attracting negative reviews like its predecessors but boasting spectacular sales and getting a film adaptation in 1975 which featured Kirk Douglas, Brenda Vaccaro, and Melina Mercouri.

The success that Jacqueline Susann desired but never got from her acting she received in spades from her writing. Even though she had fought and beaten cancer in the 1960s, the disease came back and claimed her life in 1974.

She was 56 at the time.

+Valley of the Dolls
Neely, Anne, and Jennifer have a problem. They are addicted to pills, and they are never happier than when they have a pill bottle within easy reach. But it doesn’t matter because the best friends are young and talented, and they are determined to climb the entertainment ladder in New York.

None of them knows that the only thing waiting for them at the top is a long fall back to the bottom.

+The Love Machine
Robin Stone was a big deal, a Television Network titan who women could not get enough of. Stone was determined to rise to the peak of the entertainment industry. But then an international sex scene and one too many drinks changed everything.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jacqueline Susann

One Response to “Jacqueline Susann”

  1. DonDong: 3 years ago

    I remember reading that book when I was a teen in the ’70s. It was still very infamous. I must’ve read about it’s sales in The Book of World Records. She was a really great writer, because I couldn’t put the book down.


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