The “Mame” Author’s Quote on Writing
Patrick Dennis (1921-1976) whose real name was Edward Everett Tanner III, was the author of one of the bestselling American books of the 20th century: “Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade.” Narrated by an adult man named Patrick, it tells the story of the narrator’s unconventional upbringing with his eccentric aunt, in New York City. The novel was fiction, but Dennis later revealed that the character of Mame was loosely based on a relative. In 1958, Dennis wrote a sequel to his bestseller, called “Around the World with Auntie Mame.”
About the use of his own name for the narrator of the Auntie Mame book, Dennis said,
“I write in the first person, but it is all fictional. The public assumes that what seems fictional is fact; so the way for me to be inventive is to seem factual but be fictional.”
The books were adapted into a play and into two movies: 1958’s “Auntie Mame” starring Rosalind Russell and 1974’s “Mame,” which was a musical starring Lucille Ball. Though the original books are now somewhat obscure, both movies are beloved classics.