September 7th, 2011
“Double Life” chronicles a fifty-year love story between a top Hollywood executive and a Madison Avenue ad man-turned-acclaimed painter. It’s a relationship that was formed at a time when there were no role models for them to emulate. Gay marriage is at the forefront of America’s political battles. The human story at the center of this debate is told in Double Life: A Love Story, a dual memoir by a gay male couple in a 50 plus year relationship.
The story begins in a $50 a month walk-up flat in New York and moves to Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Malibu. With high profiles in the entertainment, advertising and art communities, the authors offer a virtual timeline of how gay relationships have gained acceptance in the last half-century. At the same time, they share inside stories from film, television and media. The book is filled with stories of the art world and show business: anecdotes about people like Lena Horne, Marlon Brando, Richard Chamberlain, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Lee Radziwill, Frances Lear, Helen Hayes, Bette Davis, Mike Nichols, Dustin Hoffman, Rock Hudson and Truman Capote.
All told, it is a funny, moving adventure that tells the true story of a same sex union and how it contributes to the life of all of us.
“I adored “Double Life” from its opening sentence, and so will you I laughed and gasped at its inside-show-business stories and was intrigued by the cutthroat advertising and art world gossip. Brilliantly written, filled with humor–and occasional heartbreak. I know it’s corny, but block out a day to read this book because once started, you won’t be able to put this down.”–Joan Rivers
“In the early years, you fight because you don’t understand each other. In the later years, you fight because you do.” –Joan Didion
“We both grew up at a time when homosexuality was not even spoken about,” the couple writes. “There were certainly no books that could help a young person understand that two people of the same sex could build a happy, productive and loving life together. When we entered our 50th year, another same sex couple told us we were ‘an inspiration’, so we began to feel we had the responsibility to make what we’ve experienced available to others.”
Upon their meeting in New York in 1958: “We didn’t want to live together. We didn’t have any examples of what a good love relationship between two men could be. And there was always the problem of hiding so no one would know we were gay. There was no question that if I were known to be gay, living with another man, it would make it more difficult for me to get work as an actor.” – Alan Shayne, co-author, Double Life
Alan Shayne is a former Broadway actor and casting agent who for ten years held the position of president of Warner Brothers Television. Norman Sunshine is an Emmy Award-winning designer and former advertising executive whose work as a visual artist is widely collected. The authors live in Washington, Connecticut.
Publication Date: October 18, 2011