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Kay Thompson was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1911, the daughter of a local jeweler. She showed early promise as a pianist; she started to play the piano when she was four, and at sixteen played Franz Liszt with the St. Louis Symphony. Shortly afterward, she appeared as featured vocalist with a local dance band. Thompson went to California in 1929, when she was seventeen. Her first job was as a diving instructor, but she soon found a job on the radio as a vocalist with the Mills Brothers. Later she joined Fred Waring's band in New York as a singer and arranger. She decided to produce her own radio show, which was aired over the CBS network under the name Kay Thompson and Company. The show was not as big a success as Thompson had hoped and so she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios as an arranger and composer. Beginning in 1942, she worked with MGM choreographer Robert Alton on such films as The Ziegfield Follies, The Harvey Girls, and The Kid From Brooklyn. She remained with the studio for four years until she created her own night club routine. The show opened at Ciro's night club in 1947 and was successful enough to be taken on the road. That autumn she opened in Chicago and in February 1948 she moved to Miami for a $15,000-a-week engagement. Thompson kept the act going until 1953. Eloise's birth was unexpected. Thompson prized punctuality, but one day she was late to rehearsals with the Mills Brothers. In a high, childish voice, she made her apology. One of her co-workers said, 'Who are you, little girl?' Thompson replied, 'I am Eloise. I am 6.' The others joined in the game, each assuming a juvenile identity, and it became a regular rehearsal pastime. The routine became a book after Thompson began performing in 1954 in a one-woman show at the Plaza. While she was appearing in the hotel's Persian Room, she was introduced to an artist, Hilary Knight, and he became the illustrator of Eloise, which was subtitled A Book for Precocious Grown Ups. Thompson wrote the book during a three-month break from performing. Later she wrote three other books about Eloise, which were also illustrated by Knight. In the first two years after Eloise came out, 150,000 copies were sold. According to records beginning in 1983, 592,000 copies of "Eloise" have been sold in the United States since then. Thompson also wrote "Kay Thompson's Miss Pooky Peckinpaugh and Her Secret Private Boyfriends Complete with Telephone Numbers," illustrated by Joe Eula. Thompson also founded Eloise Ltd., which made recordings and other products related to the Eloise character. In later years, Ms. Thompson acted in movies, including "Funny Face," and on television. Kay Thompson died in July of 1998 (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from Eloise… (more)
Eloise 1,698 copies, 41 reviews
Eloise in Paris 667 copies, 17 reviews
Eloise at Christmastime 487 copies, 10 reviews
Eloise Takes A Bawth 350 copies, 6 reviews
Eloise in Moscow 331 copies, 6 reviews
Eloise: The Ultimate Edition 327 copies, 6 reviews
Eloise Skates! 64 copies, 1 review
Funny Face [1957 film] (Actress) 236 copies, 4 reviews
Eloise Has a Lesson (Series Originator) 190 copies, 2 reviews
Eloise Breaks Some Eggs (Creator) 187 copies, 4 reviews
Eloise at the Wedding (Original Character) 118 copies, 2 reviews
Eloise and the Snowman (Ready-to-Read. Level 1) (Original Character) 106 copies, 1 review
Eloise in Hollywood (Creator) 94 copies, 6 reviews
Love & Kisses, Eloise (Kay Thompson's Eloise) (Original Character) 88 copies
Eloise at the Plaza [2003 film] (Original story) 39 copies
Eloise at Christmastime [2003 film] (Original story) 36 copies
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Kay Thompson, née Catherine Louise Fink, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She showed early talent for the piano, and by age 16 was appearing onstage as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony. Then she moved to California and became a singer, dancer, vocal arranger, and the producer and host of a CBS Radio program called Kay Thompson & Company. She was a composer. arranger, and singing coach for many MGM musicals such as The Harvey Girls (1946), The Ziegfeld Follies (1946), and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), in which she made her own debut as a film actor. In 1955, she published her first book, creating with illustrator Hilary Knight the now-classic character of Eloise, the mischievous 6-year-old who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. She wrote more bestselling Eloise books and continued performing in nightclubs, films, and on television.
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