Though born in America, Eddie Constantine is perhaps best remembered as a film actor in France and Germany, playing the role of a hardboiled detective named "Lemmy Caution" and appearing in films by Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Lars von Trier. In the process of transitioning Constantine from the star of B-movies to the epicenter of the Nouvelle Vague, Jean-Luc Godard reconsecrated him as the solemn and impassive star of his extraordinary film,Alphaville
. Eddie's unruffled charm, winning smile, and American credentials made him virtually untouchable. Europeans liked Constantine because he wasn't a pretty face-he hadsavoir faire
Constantine's daughter Tanya traveled with him throughout much of his career, and this book comes from her perspective of their troubled familial relationship. It is a testament to his legend that Constantine emerges from the candor of his daughter's autobiography somehow strengthened by her revelations of the compulsions and insecurities he made those closest to him suffer. This book presents us with universal truths about the difficulties experienced within family relationships and takes us behind the curtain of celebrity and the fixed smiles of publicity photos in a way few books ever do.
I had a most unusual upbringing being the child of a celebrity. My childhood was a unique situation that only people who had experienced it could comprehend. My father was a superstar and singer in Europe in the 1950s and '60s. He and I recorded a song called "The Man and The Child" that sold over a million records in France alone, when I was just eleven years old, thus making me a celebrity too. When superstardom set in, a crazy atmosphere had overtaken our household, as fame creates pressure, fear of loss, and resentment. My father's estate became an open house to international celebrities who came to visit. Despite the fame and fortune that became part of my life, I ran away from home before the age of sixteen with the man who later became my first husband. I have spent my entire life attempting to release the pain of my upbringing.