Just Outside the Spotlight
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Luke Yankee bio
Eileen Heckart Bio
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Reviews & Press


"In a 48-holder box of spectrum-color Crayolas, Eileen Heckart was always the fire engine red. Now Luke Yankee fills in the black and white. In this sensitively remembered and meticulously catalogued memoir, a great actress comes to life wearing many faces. ‘Heckie’ was a mix of Betty Crocker and Auntie Mame. This is her story, told by the one who knew her best. It is also the intimate revelation of a very special relationship between a mother and son that is warm enough to make you cry, funny enough to make you laugh, intimate enough to make you blush, and painful enough to make your heart ache. More than an observer, the candid writing makes you a willing participant in an extraordinary adventure."

-- REX REED, syndicated columnist

"Catnip for anyone who ever worked in or loved theater, movies and TV."

                                    -- LIZ SMITH, The New York Post


"Just Outside the Spotlight is a multi-hankie Heckie-thon that's one of the most compassionate and illuminating showbiz books ever written..It's a privilege to be privy to it."

                              -- MICHAEL MUSTO, The Village Voice

"Oh my! In JUST OUTSIDE THE SPOTLIGHT, Luke Yankee captures the indomitable spirit of a great woman and superb actress. With delicious detail, he honors his mother with every turn of the page."

-- CLORIS LEACHMAN, actress, Academy Award winner,

"The Last Picture Show"

"A perfect gift for theatre lovers on any occasion..chock full of delectable actors' anecdotes, it's told in an engaging style, and laced with love...The biography is very much like an Eileen Heckart performance: honest, on-target, immensely entertaining and leaves you wanting more.


-- MICHAEL BUCKLEY, Playbill Online

"The reason I felt I could go into show business was because of all the wonderful character actors whose work I admired. One of my great pleasures was to be able to work with Eileen Heckart and to realize that her persona matched the depths of her talent. Now her son, Luke Yankee, has written this funny, charming, insightful memoir. All I can say is, Heckie must be so damned proud. I know I am!"

-- EDWARD ASNER, actor, winner of seven Emmy Awards
and five Golden Globe Awards

"Worth checking out is Luke Yankee's fascinating story of his mother, the remarkable Eileen Heckart. It paints a rich portrait of a theatrically bent son living in the glow of, and soaking up many life lessons from, a warm and nurturing but unpredictable and never-dull mother...as star-laden as it is charming and chatty."

                  -- ROBERT OSBORNE, The Hollywood Reporter

"Psychologists have established that sons are highly influenced by their mothers. Luke Yankee has written a loving memoir of his life growing up in the exciting theatrical world of his mother, the brilliant actress Eileen Heckart. Her achievements brought him into the lives of internationally acclaimed icons in show business, yet maintained the warmth and comfort of a happy home. This is a book that will be embraced by those of us in the entertainment business and he millions of fans who will enjoy the wit and charm of his world."

-- DORIS ROBERTS, actress, winner of

five Emmy Awards, "Everybody Loves Raymond"

"A natural raconteur, Yankee moves from anecdote to anecdote with a narrative energy that many smoother stylists will envy. What's best, though, is his depiction of his domestic life. For 53 years, Heckart was married to an insurance executive who had been her college sweetheart. Yankee brings verisimilitude to his account of their family circle; it's a contented scene, with recognizable ups and downs. Most touching, perhaps, is the author's account of his parents and two brothers coming to terms with the news that he's gay and, finally, inviting his long-term partner into the clan."

-- CHARLES WRIGHT, TheaterMania.com

"The life of stage-film-TV star Eileen Heckart recalled in a series of delightful war stories. The stories she passed on to her son reveal a witty, direct, forceful and generous performer. As Yankee matured, he turned to acting and directing. Mother could be his Auntie Mame,and his most forceful critic. He kept going until he got it right. Her stories had taught him that. The author himself knows a thing or two about telling stories. These form an entertaining, touching, valuable chapter in the history of Broadway's golden age."  (Starred Review)

-- Kirkus Review of Books