Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa...and Me: My Improbable Journey from Ch√Ęteaux in France to the Slums of Calcutta

Tony Cointreau

Prospecta Press,  February 2014

How many people can count among their closest friends Ethel Merman (the Queen of Broadway), 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.

Tony's 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."

Tony's memoir voices his opinion that he had no special gifts or talents to bring to Mother Teresa's 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.

Hardcover | ISBN: 9781935212348 | Publication Date: February 2014

Reviews:

"I was so interested in your life with Ethel Merman . . . she was a gifted and fascinating woman. And of course Mother Teresa is smiling down. I don't think she would ever be anything but enthusiastic about your life and its far-ranging activity. Your book is a wonderful story that nobody else can tell. I even think your family background is fun! You are a Cointreau, but then you also had the important entertainer career -- I don't think they make many more like you."
-- Helen Gurley Brown, Author and iconic editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine

Tony Cointreau's friendship with my mother was one of her life's true blessings. Naturally comfortable in the brightest light of her stardom and the softest light of her vulnerable heart, Tony shared an everyday intimacy with Ethel like a second son . . . like my brother.
-- Bob Levitt, Ethel Merman's son

Dear Tony,
I am glad to know that you have experienced joy in sharing our works of love for the poor in our home for AIDS patients. Thank you for your generous gift of love. Please pray for me as I do for you.
God bless you,
-- Mother Teresa, Missionaries of Charity