Anthony, Crystal McCrary
ANTHONY, Crystal McCrary
PERSONAL: Born in Detroit, MI; married Greg Anthony (former professional basketball player; now a sports commentator; separated); children: one son and one daughter. Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, B.A., 1991; attended Washington College of Law, American University; New York University School of Law, J.D., 1995; also studied international law at Tulane University and European Community law in Paris, France.
CAREER: Writer and lawyer; called to the Bar of New York State; former entertainment lawyer with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison, New York, NY; has appeared on television programs as a legal analyst.
(As Crystal McCrary; with Rita Ewing) Homecourt Advantage (novel), Avon (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Tonya Lewis Lee) Gotham Diaries (novel), Hyperion (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including Essence, New York Times, Newsweek, Sister to Sister, Mirabella, Vibe, Glamour, Savoy, and Tastemakers NYC.
ADAPTATIONS: The film rights to Homecourt Advantage were optioned by Sony/Screen Gem.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A second novel with coauthor Tonya Lewis Lee, set in New York.
SIDELIGHTS: Crystal McCrary Anthony has seen the glamorous life of upper-class African Americans from the inside, as a successful entertainment lawyer and as the wife of basketball player and ESPN commentator Greg Anthony. For her first novel, Homecourt Advantage, she teamed up with fellow National Basketball Association wife Rita Ewing—wife of New York Knick Patrick Ewing—to write a novel about the personal lives and families of professional sports stars. It is not a pretty picture: readers are treated to tales of infidelity, gambling addiction, and petty squabbles and jealousies among players' wives. When the book was published, speculation swirled as to how much of the story was based on actual people and events, although the authors insist that it is purely fictional. "If you think professional basketball is exciting, you will definitely enjoy this candid" look into athlete's private lives, commented Library Journal reviewer Emily Jones.
Anthony partnered with Tonya Lewis Lee to write a second book, Gotham Diaries. The two met through their respective husbands: Anthony often went to watch her husband play for the New York Knicks, the favorite team of Lee's husband, director Spike Lee. Both women were lawyers looking to branch out into careers that would allow them more creativity, and they decided to team up and create a television series centering on the lives of upper-class African-American New Yorkers. They were set to pitch the show on September 12, 2001, but because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, the meeting was cancelled and the project was shelved. Undeterred, the two decided to write the stories as a book instead.
Gotham Diaries "is a cautionary tale of coming to New York City and getting chewed up and spit out—and the dangers of believing the hype that New York City will feed one," Anthony explained to a New York Post interviewer. The novel focuses on Lauren Thomas, the thirty-four-year-old wife of billionaire Ed Thomas. Lauren has no desire to be a typical socialite wife, playing power games and being seen in the "right" clothes in the "right" places with the "right" people. She wants to make a name for herself on her own terms, as the owner of a documentary film company. However, her two closest friends—Tandy, a middle-aged, fading socialite who suddenly finds herself deep in debt when her husband dies, and Manny, a real estate broker who grew up poor in Alabama and moved to New York to make it big—can think of plenty of things to do with Lauren and Ed's wealth, and they aren't above using treacherous means to get it. Anthony and Lee's portrayals of Manny and Tandy are "deliciously wicked," noted People critic Amy Waldman, and "their relentless conniving sets into motion a decadent romp that's sure to entertain." A reviewer for QBR Online also found Gotham Diaries amusing, describing it as "a funny read that allows the reader to escape into a world that is both foreign and familiar at the same time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 12, 2004, A. Scott Walton, interview with Tonya Lewis Lee.
Black Issues Book Review, July-August, 2004, Joycelyn A. Wilson, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 44.
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 1580.
Entertainment Weekly, November 13, 1998, Clarissa Cruz, review of Homecourt Advantage, p. 70.
Essence, August, 2004, Deborah Gregory, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 124.
Library Journal, September 15, 1998, Emily Jones, review of Homecourt Advantage, p. 111.
Newsweek, October 12, 1998, Mark Samuels and Allison Starr, review of Homecourt Advantage, p. 64; August 16, 2004, Allison Samuels, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 67.
New York Daily News, July 11, 2004, Celia McGee, review of Gotham Diaries.
New York Post, July 6, 2004, "They've Gotta Have It: Spike's Wife and Her Co-Writer Add Color to Chick Lit," p. 33.
New York Times, May 31, 2004, Lola Ogunnaike, "Black Writers Seize Glamorous Ground around Chick-Lit."
People, July 5, 2004, Amy Waldman, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 45.
Publishers Weekly, October 19, 1998, review of Homecourt Advantage, p. 57; May 17, 2004, review of Gotham Diaries, p. 33.
Challenge Group Web site, http://www.challengegroup.com/ (July 9, 2004), Joan Allen, review of Gotham Diaries.
HarperCollins Web site, http://www.harpercollins.com/ (November 4, 2004), "Crystal McCrary Anthony."
QBR Online, http://www.qbr.com/ (November 4, 2004), review of Gotham Diaries.
Tonya Lewis Lee Web site, http://www.tonyalewislee.com/ (November 4, 2004), "Gotham Diaries."*