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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
What began as a mere article of a couple of pages for a magazine turned into a 523 page book, "Hands With A Heart: The personal Biography of Actress ZaSu Pitts" by Gayle D. Haffner. Many sources contributed to this endeavor. In 1917 ZaSu Pitts took Hollywood by surprise. She was more than a little clumsy and would often be heard giggling out of embarrassment. She was well known for fluttering her fingers and arms. ZaSu had violet eyes, a tender heart, and common sense. In the 1920s she was in silent films and in the late 60s in the 'Gale Storm', where she played a comedic role. ZaSu grew up amid poverty, but had no intention of staying there. After sharing her plans with her mother, ZaSu finally headed to Hollywood. In 1917 she finally got a screen test opposite Charles “King Zany” Dill. From there she received a contract for the Flora Finch comedies and next came a role with Mary Pickford. Later in life Pitts expressed her conservative political views. One of her dreams in life was to start her own candy company with hand-wrapped candies bearing her name. Her ending was very tragic and sad.
Until I read this book I was not familiar with ZaSu Pitts. The name ZaSu is delightful and I am surprised it did not become a popular baby name. Gayle D. Haffer did an incredible job of immortalizing the woman, the actress, the comedic personality, the fluttering hands and the kind heart. Kudos to Haffer for a well-written and researched book; she goes into great detail concerning Pitts's political affiliations. The anecdotes gave Pitts the depth that brought her to life.