Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
If People magazine would have run their “50 Most Beautiful People” issues in the 1970s, Dorothy Tristan would have surely been on it. An artist, singer, model, author and actress, Tristan’s outer beauty hid a strange and inspirational upbringing. That tale is told in her memoir, “Joy Street.”
Born in New York City, Dorothy Behrdnt was the youngest of four children. As her story begins, her oldest sister is away at nursing school, her brother is a juvenile delinquent and her other sister, 14 year old Winnie is, to be polite, quite promiscuous. Add to that her father’s admiration of Adolph Hitler and life was pretty interesting. However, things change when she is chosen by a community charity, the Fresh Air Fund, to go spend a summer with a family in Connecticut, a place where girl scout uniforms, caring adults and girls with names like Foofie are in abundance. The summer goes by all too fast and soon Dorothy is back home. But she has endeared herself to her summer family and soon she is visiting at holidays as well.
Returning to New York City and her family is always a challenge. When her sister the nurse announces she is seeing a doctor the first thing the father can imagine (correctly) is that he is Jewish. Professing Hitler’s hate-speech he bans her from his home. When she is old enough to leave the nest Dorothy runs off to a future she can not imagine. It is this time in her life, when her natural beauty begins to open doors for her, that her artistic wings begin to grow. Whether modeling for the exclusive Ford Agency, gracing the cover of LIFE magazine or starring opposite Jane Fonda on screen, her stories are richly described, her words painting a picture of the events being described. The highs and lows are both revealed and she omits nothing. Her words are sad, funny, dramatic and expressive. And often at the same time. Her recall of events is amazing and fans will be amazed at all she has accomplished.
Now living in Indiana with film director John Hancock, her husband of almost 40 years, Tristan is still amazing her fans, having recently written and starred in the feature film “Swan Song.” If you’re looking for an uplifting and memorable story I can’t recommend “Joy Street” enough.