Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa...and Me
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Om Ethel Merman
How many people can count among their closest friends Ethel Merman (the Queen ofBroadway), Mother Teresa (beatified by the Vatican in October, 2003), Lee Lehman, (wife of Robert Lehman, head of Lehman Brothers), Pierre Cardin (legendary couturier and major show- business force in Europe), and many others?Well, Tony Cointreau, a scion of the French liqueur family, can. After a successful international singing career, and several years on the Cointreau board of directors, he felt a need for something more meaningful in his life. His voice had taken him to the stage, and his heart took him to Calcutta. Tonys childhood experiences with an emotionally remote mother, an angry bullying brother, a cold and unprotective Swiss nurse, and a sexually predatory schoolteacher left him convinced that the only way to be loved is to be perfect. This led him on a lifelong quest for love and for a mother figure.His first other mother was the internationally acclaimed beauty Lee Lehman. Then, after Tony met the iconic Broadway diva Ethel Merman, she became his mentor and second other mother. His memoir describes in detail his intimate family relationships with both women, as well as his years of work and friendship with Mother Teresa, his last other mother.Tonys memoir voices his opinion that he had no special gifts or talents to bring to Mother Teresas work and that if he could do it, then anyone could do it. In the end, all that really matters is a willingness to share even a small part of oneself with others.