Fales-Hill, Susan 1962-
FALES-HILL, Susan 1962-
Born May 15, 1962, in Rome, Italy; daughter of Timothy Fales (a shipping executive) and Josephine Premice (a singer, actress, and dancer); married Aaron Hill (a banker); children: one daughter. Education: Harvard University, bachelor's degree (with honors), 1985.
Home—New York, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Seventh Floor, HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East Fifty-third Street, New York, NY 10022.
Writer and television producer. Cocreator of the television show Lincs's, 1998; has written and produced television shows including The Cosby Show, A Different World, Linc's, and Suddenly Susan. Board member of Harvard University Alumni Association, Studio Museum of Harlem, and Eastside House Settlement.
Special Recognition Award, Friends of the Black Emmys, 1991.
Always Wear Joy: My Mother Bold and Beautiful, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to magazines, including Vogue, Town and Country, and Travel and Leisure.
Susan Fales-Hill is a writer and television producer whose credits include A Different World, which she executive-produced. She is the daughter of Haitian-American singer and actress Josephine Premice, who was a cabaret and musical star in Europe and America in the 1950s and 1960s. Fales-Hill's first book, Always Wear Joy: My Mother Bold and Beautiful, is a memoir of her beloved mother.
The book recounts Fales-Hill's unusual childhood. She begins with her parents' unlikely marriage in 1958, when Timothy Fales, a white, wealthy banker's son from a renowned Boston family, proposed to Josephine, already a star in Europe and performing in the musical Jamaica. The couple then moved to Italy, where Susan Fales-Hill and her brother were born. In 1963 the family moved back to New York. There, Fales-Hill enjoyed a multicultural and multilingual upbringing in a home where black and white actors, singers, and intellectuals frequently gathered and partied. In 1985 her parents' marriage ended. Soon, her mother's health started to deteriorate. Josephine Premice died from emphysema in 2001 but dressed and styled herself in her own distinctive and extravagant manner until the end.
Fales-Hill describes her mother as not only glamorous and dazzling but also loving and devoted. She relates the sacrifices her mother made, and the disadvantages Josephine faced because of her ethnicity. Though she experienced success on Broadway in the 1960s, she never reached the same stardom as her friends Eartha Kitt or Diahann Carroll.
Critics responded positively to Always Wear Joy. A critic for Kirkus Reviews called the memoir "one of those rare tributes that capture exactly what made someone widely loved and admired." Howard Miller, reviewing the book for Library Journal, found that "Fales-Hill brings to life her mother's joyful personality on the pages of this warm and charming book." Anthony Barzilay Freund noted in Town and Country that Fales-Hill "writes with candor and humor."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Enterprise, September, 2000, "Learning Lingos," p. 209.
Black Issues Book Review, November-December, 2003, Suzanne Rust, review of Always Wear Joy: My Mother Bold and Beautiful, p. 69.
Booklist, May 1, 2003, Vanessa Bush, review of Always Wear Joy, p. 1568.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2003, review of Always Wear Joy, p. 519.
Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Howard Miller, review of Always Wear Joy, p. 88.
Newsday, May 28, 2003, Martin Johnson, "A Daughter's Joy: Writing about a Bold, Beautiful Mother," section B, p. 3.
New York Times, April 27, 2003, Cathy Horyn, "Can a Smile Bridge the Divide?," section 9, p. 1.
Town and Country, May, 2003, Anthony Barzilay Freund, review of Always Wear Joy, p. 55.
Vogue, April, 2003, "Grace Notes: A Daughter Recounts the Lessons She Learned from Her Unforgettably Stylish Mother," p. 257.
Talk of the Nation, National Public Radio, May 8, 2003, Neal Conan, transcript of interview with Fales-Hill.*