BOOK CLUB: Daddy Cool

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Author: Darleen Bungey
ISBN: 978-176052973
Copy courtesy of Allen and Unwin 

I have a passion for autobiographies and books that teach you about someone’s life.  I was enticed by ‘Daddy Cool’ even though I had no previous knowledge of Robert Cutter/Lawrence Brooks.  I have always found that peoples lives are so very interesting.  ‘Daddy Cool’ is written by Robert’s daughter. 

After her father had passed away she decided to start digging and see if she could learn more about her dad.  She was lucky to have access to letters that her Dad had sent to his eldest child from a previous relationship.  The book is filled with the stories she managed to gather from those letters, newspaper articles, stories told to her by her mother and sister and of course from her own memories.


Her Dad was a famous singer in the US and performed at the Academy Awards in the 1930s. She wanted to learn why he threw all that away and ended up in Australia and even ended up fighting for the Australians during the War. 

She also shares with the reader a little of her Mothers story and how she met the singer then known as Laurie Brooks.  How she was able to get him to settle and stop his drifting from one woman to another and become the dedicated and loyal family man.

This book is an interesting read if you are someone like me that loves to learn peoples stories.  There are several photos included so that you can put faces to the names.

To add to the experience, I also managed to find some of Robert Cutters music on youtube.

A lovely weekend read.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Daddy Cool. You can read their reviews in the comments below, or add your own feedback!

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Daddy Cool

  1. Thanks as always to Beauty and Lace for the copy of Daddy Cool.

    Although I knew nothing of this book I was excited to read it as I do love a good autobiography and true story!

    Obviously because of the title I thought that it was the story of one of the Daddy Cool band members, a 1970s rock band from Melbourne, so I spent the first part of the book a bit confused, and I had to go to Allen and Unwins page to read more of the synopsis, to which I discovered I was wrong and it had nothing to do with Daddy Cool.

    After I got after the initial confusion I did find the book quite interesting. It was very well written and I enjoyed getting to know Robert Cutters and through the memories, letters and stories it seems that he was a well loved and respected person by many.

    Daddy Cool was a nice quick read, read easily over a cold winters weekend.

  2. Darleen Bungey writes with love and admiration of her father, Robert Cutter. She explores his earlier days and the subsequent adventures he undertook as part of his life journey. She writes fluently and provides the reader with great insight into the eventful life and romances of her father.

    As a proud daughter, she expresses her devotion to all things family and allows us to enter her world and we sense the pride she carries.

    I think all of us would love to be able to honour our parents in this lovely way!

    A great read in a cosy spot on a cold winters weekend.

  3. A beautiful story of an American singer called Robert Cutler but changed his name to Lawrence Brooks written by his daughter. This is a true biography story but it also shows memoirs of his life.

    He was born in 1907 but later abandoned by his parents and bought up by his grandparents.

    He had a colourful life in America with women – he was what you would call a ladies man back then and also had a daughter born that he never wanted yet when she was born he loved her immensely. Her name was Miki but she never grew up with her dad.

    In the early 1930s Robert was a well sought after singer who lived in America but also divided his time in Honolulu where he was quite famous and loved by the people there. His songs would outsell Bing Crosby. He also worked with famous bands.

    One band called Whidden Band Orchestra came to Australia and Robert escorted with them as the vocalist. It was enroute to Australia that he changed his name to Lawrence Brooks. He resided in Australia from 1938 and in this time when WWII began he became an infantryman where he had to fight for his country.

    Finally when he was back home in Sydney, he would change his ways when he met the love of his life Gloria van Boss in 1946 and with her he had two daughters Darleen & Geraldine. He was the perfect father.

    In reading this story I became fascinated from the beginning as it mentions my hometown of Sydney and places in NSW. There are mentions of streets where I remember my own father lived. In the book there are photos of his life and as I have been to Honolulu, I loved seeing the old photo of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which still stands today but with other buildings surrounding it now.

    It wasn’t till I read that when they lived at Newport and I read that Gloria used to hand out pamphlets outside the Newport Surf Club that something triggered my memory as my parents moved to Newport in 1980.

    I found myself tearing up as I got closer to the end of the book for what would happen to both Lawrence and then Gloria down the track. Life truely is hard. Gloria was a beautiful mum to her girls and I loved reading about her life in the book also.

    This is such a beautiful story and it’s just wonderful that Miki had kept so many articles, photos, letters from her dad for all those years and then Darleen finding items of interest in their Newport home when she was clearing out the house.

    I loved how his two daughters finally got to meet their half sister Miki in person.

    Autobiographies are such a wonderful insight to someone’s life and for me this is a winner. Darleen has written the story of her dad with flare and passion and it’s also lovely getting to know her and Geraldine’s life also.

  4. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to review ‘Daddy Cool’ by Darleen Bungey.
    This is a tribute to the author’s father.
    His life was remarkable. He was born Robert Ahern Cutter in January 1907 in Santa Maria, the second son of Winnie and Louise.
    His adored brother died just after his own birth and Robert always felt as if he had to live up to his brother’s memory.
    His parents divorced and he was brought up by his maternal grandparents, he rarely saw his parents and felt a little uncomfortable being with them and their present partners.
    His father however, he was closer to.
    At age 15 he had singing lessons and was supported by his family in this, and at this he had an excellent talent.
    Robert’s singing took him from the United States mainland to Hawaii where he married his first wife, a sister of childhood friends, in 1932. Their daughter Miki was born the following year.
    The marriage failed and Robert went on to marry three more times, the last and happiest marriage to Darleen’s mother.
    Meanwhile his career had taken off and he became known as Lawrence Brooks, coming to Australia in 1938 where he was billed as ‘the singer from Hollywood with a true tenor’s voice’.
    During the war he joined the army and performed in the Middle East and New Guinea.
    It was in 1946 that he married his Australian girl, Gloria Van Boss, (hers too is a story featured in the book), and went on to have two more daughters.

    Such an interesting and talented man who wrote lyrics, poetry and entertained so many.
    The book features photographs which were so interesting to see, verses and so much more, indeed a tribute to a loved father.

  5. Darleen Bungey has written this beautiful book straight from the heart, the pages are overwhelmingly filled with love for her very hip father ‘Daddy Cool’

    This book is a very cool read, about a very good dad, who lived a very cool life, a cool crooner with very cool band mates, what wonderfully very cool skeletons to have in the closet.

    I can imagine Darleen peeling back the layers as she unearthed this Pandora’s Box of her American father’s scandalous previous wives, nights in the slammer, front page headlines, an older sibling, performing in front of Hollywood’s elite, travelling the world singing to thousands and her dad being a ‘leg man’

    I loved Darleen’s research trip to Honolulu in the mid-seventies, I reminisced as Darleen talked about her stay at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, imagining the Hawaii of the 1930’s sitting in the audience listening to Bob Cutter crooning Hawaiian Paradise, sipping a Mai Tai, as I did when I visited Hawaii in the early 1990’s where I also shared drinks and Pu Pu’s under the renowned Moana Banyan Tree.

    The photo’s in the book were an added bonus, a real step back in time, my favourite a beaming Bob Cutter in 1935 his neck surrounded in floral lei’s, followed closely by the grandeur of the Ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel when they hosted the 8th Academy Awards. Also, the photo of Darleen with her cat when they lived in the little rental cottage in Stanwell Park, Darleen’s mum admitting decades later it had been one of the happiest times of their lives.

    I can only imagine this would have been quiet an emotional story to write and I feel very privileged to have read about Bob (Laurie’s) career, warts and all and I can’t thank Darleen enough for sharing her fabulous family history.

  6. A beautiful researched and written memoir of a fathers life and love.

    I had never heard of either Robert Cutter or Lawrence Brooks but through reading Daddy Cool I’ve learnt about an incredibly talented man who experienced life a lot more than most.

    An easy to read, charming story that skips across his life and continues to impress to the end.

  7. David Cool is a very honest and revealing biography. I found that it started slowly but once I was hooked I couldn’t put it down.
    Darleen Bungey was very fortunate to have lots of resources available to tell this amazing rollercoaster journey of her father: a man who crammed a whole lot of living into his lifetime.
    As well as telling us of her father’s life, Darleen writes about her mother. Her mother was a bit of a surprise package. Initially she seemed so naive compared to the older and more worldly man she married. However it was a happy marriage
    For me one of the highlights was the photos in the middle. I checked them out straight away and then kept going back to them. They really added an extra to the book
    Lawrence Brook as he became was very much a flawed man. This book spares nothing. I was horrified when Darleen told of one occasion when her dad lost his temper. It is this honesty and rawness though that makes the book the good book that it is
    I am grateful to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read, review and relish this biography

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace book club and Allen & Unwin for the chance to review Daddy Cool by Darleen Bungey.

    As a predominately fiction reader, I enjoy reading the occasion biography. This particular book was written by the subjects daughter and it was an interesting read.

    Up until I read the book, I actually thought it was going to be about one of the band members of the Australian band ‘Daddy Cool’ so I feel the title is misleading.

    Darleen’s dad had a colourful life which took part in the USA including Hawaii and ended in Australia. He had many marriages, which I think is a rarity in that time and he also served in the armed forces. I also thought it was interesting that worked for Australian Womens Weekly as a proofreader.

    Bob/Lawrie was a colourful character who indeed lead a very different life that had many ups and many downs. Darleen writes well so the two together makes an interesting book.

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