More Than Tongue Can Tell

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MORE THAN TONGUE CAN TELL is the one-hundred-year saga (1885-1985) of screen beauty and film star Andrea King and her equally indomitable, cigar-smoking mother Belle McKee.

Imagine, for a moment, what it must have been like growing up in the 1880s on a farm across the street from Thomas Edison, experiencing the first burst of electric light illuminating your childhood home. Belle’s father George Hart was an inventor himself, and as the family’s prosperity grew, so did Belle’s private aspirations. She dreamed of a life in the theatre, and against her parents wishes, she studied in secret, dancing with the legendary Isadora Duncan in New York. But when Isadora left the country for France, Belle volunteered as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross in order to avoid asking her parents for traveling expenses. Belle found herself on the front lines in World War I, and the experience changed her forever.

She soon had a daughter, Georgette, and in 1919, upon learning of her father’s grave illness, Belle returned to the States with her baby. Now a single mother with few options available to her, Belle agreed to marry a wealthy banker and settle down in New York.

Raised in Forest Hills and Palm Beach, Georgette also dreamed of a life in the theatre. She was spotted by a representative of the Shubert brothers in a boarding school recital and, at the age of fourteen, made her Broadway debut weeks later. Georgette came to be known as Andrea King, a name given to her by movie mogul Jack Warner when she rose to fame at Warner Bros. in the mid-1940s.

Follow Andrea on her turbulent path to stardom in Hollywood’s heyday—and pick up fascinating, personal anecdotes about Montgomery Clift, Tallulah Bankhead, Thomas Mitchell, Lillian Gish, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Peter Lorre, Ida Lupino, Bob Hope, and Edward G. Robinson, just to name a few. But Andrea’s story delves deeper into private struggles: rape, abortion, child molestation, alcoholism, domestic violence, disputed judgment, and missed opportunities—as well as the triumphs of romance and ingenuity.

Throughout their lives, and a century of change and turmoil unlike any other, these two women possessed a bond that endured. They loved each other “more than tongue can tell.”