After February 9, 1964, everyone wanted to be Debbie Gendler. On that date, she was just one of a relative handful of lucky fans who were in the live audience for The Beatles’ historic performance on The Ed Sullivan Show—an iconic television event viewed in the living rooms of 73 million Americans. Everyone has a story to share about where they were when they watched the appearance, but very few were there in person—and even fewer would actually go on not just to meet the Beatles, but end up building an entire career around the band. But Debbie did.
This is the story of a New Jersey teenager who managed to accomplish what millions only dreamed about. Prior to the Beatles arrival in America, Gendler met with the group’s manager Brian Epstein regarding the establishment of a U.S. Fan Club. Atthe start of the Beatles’ historic 1965 summer tour, she was the only teen to welcome them to America, and after their press conference at The Warwick Hotel she finally meets them in person.
Continuing her journey, Debbie recounts her unique and sometimes wacky experiences having witnessed first-hand some of the most historic events in pop culture. She shares concert antics from Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Shea Stadium and Suffolk Downs and describes the mayhem outside the Plaza Hotel and later that year at the Delmonico Hotel chanting for the Beatles. Organizing fans to sleep on Broadway to purchase tickets for A Hard Day’s Night, representing the Official Beatles Fan Club on television, and promoting the Ringo for President novelty record are just some of the requests she fulfilled as one of the band’s leading ambassadors in the US. This coming-of-age tale details the adolescent journey of a devoted Beatles fan in all her youthful innocence against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s, and a shifting cultural landscape.
Debbie Gendler is a 4-time Emmy nominated Talent and Development Executive and Producer formerly at CBS New York and Los Angeles, and ABC, and who also served as Women in Film’s (LA) first Executive Director. Debbie is responsible for developing over 9,000 episodes of television with Weller/Grossman Productions for thirty-six broadcast and cable networks including the launches of HGTV and the National Geographic Channel in the United States. Identifying talent and building show concepts is Debbie’s expertise with many of today’s notable hosts and experts being introduced to networks by Debbie. As an “original” Beatle fan who was in the studio audience for the group’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, she has given countless interviews on television, radio and podcasts including the CBS Grammy 50th Beatle Anniversary Show where her interview traveled around the world as part of a Grammy Exhibit, and on the accompanying DVD to Ron Howard’s feature documentary on the Beatles. Now sixty years later Debbie works as a research consultant and co-producer at SOFA Entertainment, owner of The EdSullivan Show.
Debbie is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication and enjoys the non-housewife life with her husband in Beverly Hills, California.
"A terrific insider’s look at those heady early days ... Excellent."
In this heartfelt, personal and engaging memoir, Debbie Gendler has perfectly captured the fun, the passion, the insanity and all of the raging hormones surrounding 1960s Beatlemania. Having lived through it myself, it was a thoroughly enjoyable—and accurate—trip back in time.
60 years after they conquered the world, The Beatles' fandom still numbers in the millions. And not one of these fans wouldn't trade places with 13 year-old Debbie Gendler: if there's a title for first American Beatle fan, Debbie qualifies. Long before the 1964 Ed Sullivan Show debut, she was tuned in. This is her story - the closest any of us will get to trading places. Written with immediacy, passion and an observant eye, she shares her life-changing journey that took her from small-town New Jersey to the group's inner circle. Stories like this are no longer possible, but thankfully Debbie shares her's beautifully with us, the present day fans.
Debbie, I remember you at the Ed Sullivan Show!
An engaging, vivid account of a first-generation Beatles fan, In My Life lets readers vicariously experience everything, from Ed Sullivan to Shea Stadium and beyond, through Deb's eyes. Her account helps reclaim the voice, savvy, and reputation of the female fan after generations of dismissive portrayals.
When the Beatles arrived in the United States in early February 1964, their critics deemed the Liverpool band a passing fad—certain that the exuberant, female-led fandom that followed them would soon fade away. While history has proved otherwise, it is only more recently that this first generation of fans has come forward to share what the Beatles have meant to them. As a leading participant in the earliest days of American Beatlemania (complete with a ticket to the band's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show), Debbie Gendler gifts readers with a page-turning memoir that vividly depicts how the twentieth century’s most joyful cultural phenomenon has shaped her life in meaningful and often surprising ways.
With a one-of-a-kind, front row perspective, Debbie Gendler shares what being a part of Beatle-mania truly felt like from the beginning until today.
As a last minute stand-in for the ailing George Harrison during the historic Sullivan Show rehearsal I felt the excitement, frenzy and screams that Debbie conveys so enthusiastically in this story she is finally ready to share. Deb tells it like it was!