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Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story

3.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  63 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Advocate Books Life Stories

In an age when celebrities have turned the act of coming out into an empowering media event, Paul Lynde certainly seems like a campy relic of less-liberated times. This view of Lynde as an out-of-step, self-loathing queen of queens overlooks the man’s great, if accidental, achievement: getting away with being gay on TV on an almost daily basis fo
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Advocate Books
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I loved Paul Lynde when I was a little girl (the appreciation for male characters who are gay in real life seems to be an on-going theme: David Hyde Pierce's character 'Niles' and Jim Parson's character 'Sheldon') so I was really happy to discover there was a biography of him.

It was eye-opening, yet not too surprising what with having had a similar caustically-witted (sometimes to the point of catty) gay friend.
It's just very sad and unfortunate that he died young, nor had any long-lasting tv s
Evanston Public  Library
When I was kid, mom turned on the TV each morning to watch Hollywood Squares at 10:30 a.m. on NBC. She loved watching Paul Lynde. Mom got quite the kick out of his lightning-quick zingers (we later learned his responses were pre-written). Watching the game show with mom, I learned to appreciate Lynde’s acerbic and campy sense of humor…not to mention the wit of his co-stars, former B-grade entertainers like Wayland Flowers & Madame, Wally Cox, Rose Marie, and Charo. Having been a diehard fan ...more
"...this fairy forefather's arch and bitchy wit sneaked regular doses of the queer world into that bastion of intolerance, the American living room. Paul showed TV viewers that a gay man could deliver the jokes, not just be the butt of them." -from "Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story."

When I was a child in the 60s and 70s and had no idea there was any such thing as gay, there was one gay man on TV who seemed to delight everyone in my family, including my grandma, and that was Paul Lynde. And th
Aug 03, 2014 James rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this biography. Not because it is poorly written (the writers Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski do an adequate job), or because it doesn’t provide adequate dish (it does), but because it completely shatters the illusion that Paul Lynde would even have been fun at parties.

I wasn’t under the impression that his life was easy or that he was overly pleasant, but I was never aware until I read this just how unpleasant he was. Granted, he lost his brother and both of his parents in
Jan 30, 2015 Rj rated it liked it
On a whole other gay front I picked up the only biography of Paul Lynde that I could find at my public library Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story (San Francisco: Advocate, 2005). Written by Joe Florenski and Steve Wilson the book is one of those quick, slapdash efforts pushed out by presses to capitalize on the popularity of a celebrity. Although poorly written and thrown together by pasting selections from biographies of others the subject is too entertaining. After discovering the Paul Lynde ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
Earlier this week, I finished another biography of another stupendously funny comedian, "Furious Cool," about the life of Richard Pryor. Not surprisingly, reading it back to back with the Paul Lynde bio drew plenty of comparisons; both grew up in small towns, both were ostracized due to upbringing or disposition, both used humor as a defense weapon, and both later became masters of the craft, but not their demons. When reviewers say, "oh, now I suppose we're supposed to excuse all their bad beha ...more
Rich Meyer
Jul 20, 2014 Rich Meyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
It's been awhile since I've read a celebrity memoir, since those usually aren't my thing (unless they're about Frank Zappa). I will however occasionally indulge myself with one if it's about a unique individual or favorite actor. Center Square fits both those criteria.

I remember Paul Lynde as a pretty versatile comic actor - though like most of his characters, they were just versions of himself - and pretty quick on the quip. I never really even considered he was gay - he was just the goofy guy
I wanted to like this book. Paul Lynde was such a funny man with a big heart. This book is such a disservice to his life and work. It is a dry read with just tidbits of his life tossed in among the list of his jobs. It did have a couple of funny parts and did have a part here and there that gave him the full view of what he was like and his life. It was not enough for me to give it more than two stars.
Oct 29, 2007 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
Hold onto your hats, folks -- Paul Lynde, beloved TV star of the 70s, was not only a rabid anti-semite, but also was a miserable prick in general. If you liked Lynde and don't want your illusions shattered, you probably shouldn't pick up this biography.

Even apart from the fact that Lynde was just an unpleasant character, this book will annoy you, as it was full of errors and needed a pretty serious copy edit. Unfortunately, I can't remember any examples, and I no longer have the book, but it wa
David Cerda
Feb 17, 2008 David Cerda rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2007 Kent rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sure
The worst thing about this book was the editing, and the publisher needs to work on that. I hate books with typos and errors.

The story itself is good enough. A few of the episodes even made me laugh out loud (because they were mean). Its sad to read about someone who was so talented, and yet so self destructive.
Mar 24, 2008 Damon rated it really liked it
I would have liked this book more if it hadn't been so honest and truthful. Paul Lynde was who he was because of the time he lived in, and when put in a modern context, it's a sad story. He is still an icon and a hero to me, though.
Jul 19, 2008 Kristie rated it really liked it
My friend wrote this book. He's been a HUGE fan of Paul Lynde since he was very young. It's very well researched and quite a fitting tribute.
Lisa Van Oosterum
Oct 25, 2011 Lisa Van Oosterum rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Man, this guy was a KOOKOO. Great read, but his life was so interesting it is quite hard to mess up his biography.
Gregory Broderick
Nov 23, 2012 Gregory Broderick rated it it was amazing
this book gave Paul Lynde the dignity he deserved and was an open look into who he was behind and on camera
Apr 25, 2008 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
An extra star just because this was an entire book about Paul Lynde.
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