Marsha Hunt

To be launched October 25th 2005 -
Marsha's new book, "Undefeated - am I the same girl?"

The intimate personal story behind her TV documentary "Beating Breast Cancer"

Undefeated  - am I the same girl? by Marsha Hunt

 Cover images:  front: post-mastectomy 2005;
 back: Hair 1968  Patrick Lichfield. Cover design: Emily Bland

click to download press version of book cover


"Marsha is a feisty, fiercely intelligent woman: the type that marches through life taking no prisoners"
Mail on Sunday



ISBN 1845960785
 When Marsha Hunt posed naked in Patrick Lichfields Notting Hill studio on 6 January 2005, it wasn't the first time. They were duplicating the famous shot hed taken of her 37 years earlier for American Vogue. That was back in late September 1968, after the opening night of the first rock musical Hair. With its notorious nude scene, the show was destined to take London by storm. It would also make Marsha, then 22, a household name and launch a career that included 15 years in rock, further stage and film roles, her stunning, albeit brief, spell in radio and international acclaim as a writer.

 What was so different about her second sitting with Lichfield in 2005 was that a TV film crew was on hand to record it as part of the prime-time documentary that was being shot about Marshas battle with cancer. Only five weeks earlier, shed had her right breast and lymph glands removed.

 Though cancer strikes fear into its victims, Marsha decided to treat it like a dangerous adventure. Her bravery and courage, tinged with a touch of her usual madness, transformed the crisis into an opportunity for others to change perceptions about female sexuality and beauty.
 Whether it is the daring decision to pose naked with a single breast, the hair-cutting party Marsha throws at her daughter Karis Jaggers Hollywood home, Marshas fight against the hospital superbug MRSA or falling in love on the Internet, the story of this lone womans determination to remain undefeated by cancer and the threat of death is an inspiring tale with twists and turns that will make you laugh and cry.
 Musician, actress and writer Marsha Hunt grew up in Philadelphia and California and moved to the UK in the late 1960s. She now divides her time between Ireland and France, and is the author of several internationally acclaimed books, including the novels Joy, Free and Like Venus Fading, and the autobiographical works Repossessing Ernestine and Real Life.

World rights are available. For more information please contact

Marsha Today - pic: - click for Marsha Hunt article

useful links article by Victoria Kennedy

see ITV article on documentary

Click here to order Marsha's book at


Review of Marsha's TV documentary.
Imogen Stubbs, Daily Telegraph, UK:

"The other night, there was a programme on ITV about Marsha Hunt. We acted together in Othello (when plays were still acceptable on television) and I remember her as a woman of extraordinary grace and intelligence.
But when I realised that the programme was documenting her struggle with breast cancer and her decision to have a full mastectomy and forgo reconstructive surgery, I am ashamed to say that I fled. Having lost both parents to cancer, I find it incredibly hard to go near anything to do with the wretched disease. I just numb out in the childlike hope that we'll all find ourselves back in Kansas and discover that the wicked witch never existed after all.

However, something made me return to the television, and I'm glad I did. Seeing Marsha shorn of her beautiful Aslan mane of hair ("Thank God I don't have to wear bobby pins any more") and talking about her illness with remarkable fire and courage quite bowled me over. "If my worth as a woman depends on whether I have one breast or two, then there is a problem - but it sure as hell ain't mine," she said.

While undergoing radiotherapy, she wore different pairs of outrageous shoes to each session because she knew that this tickled the nurses. Cancer, she said, had brought something extraordinary into her life, but I would say that she brought something extraordinary to her cancer".

Imogen Stubbs - Daily Telegraph


Mainstream is delighted to have acquired rights to UNDEFEATED Am I the Same Girl? by Marsha Hunt. In 1969, Marsha Hunt was the star of the hit musical Hair, a rock singer and the ‘Black is Beautiful' icon who became Mick Jagger's secret lover and gave birth to his first daughter, Karis. By 1989, Marsha had shed her sex-symbol tag to win international acclaim as a novelist. But in 2004, while working on a biography of Jimi Hendrix which she considered her life's work, she was struck down with breast cancer.

Awaking from a mastectomy on 30 November 2004, she believed that she was still the same woman. But would the world agree, especially after she lost her famous head of hair due to chemotherapy? And had her liberated attitude towards nudity in the revolutionary '60s helped to promote the notion that a woman's sexuality is dependent upon her breasts? Nothing about Marsha's cancer experience was ‘normal' and there were many unexpected twists along the way. Believing that by exposing her experience of fighting cancer she could eliminate some of the treacherous myths about the disease and death, she invited a TV production company to film her journey and also wrote this remarkable account.

UNDEFEATED Am I The Same Girl? is an extraordinary story about a lone woman's belief in crisis as opportunity. Marsha Hunt came to Britain from the US in 1966 and now lives in Ireland. She is the author of six internationally acclaimed books.


Review of Marsha's autobiography 'Real Life'

'Marsha Hunt joins a formidable company of black American writers. Like Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, she proclaims the experience of the black American woman in a white dominated world.' more



Repossessing Ernestine

In the 1920s in Memphis, Tennessee, Ernestine Hunt seemed to have a bright future. Yet she was to spend over 50 years in mental institutions before her granddaughter Marsha Hunt discovered she was still alive. In an effort to find answers to the mysteries of her grandmother's past and to restore dignity to her remaining years, Marsha became caught up in her father's family. Travelling to the Deep South, visiting her grandfather's home and friends, battling for hospital and legal records, she turned over secrets and inconsistencies that others might have prefered to remain hidden.


website credits

this website is produced in conjunction with Marsha Hunt
by James Burke




Welcome to the Official Marsha Hunt website. Read about the star of the hippie musical 'Hair', Singer, Actress, Radio Presenter, Political Campaigner and, nowadays, acclaimed Novelist

click below for Press Page

click for Marsha Hunt Press Office



go to Background page

Marsha in 1968 - by Patrick Lichfield

Marsha Hunt 1968, photographed by Lichfield


Reviews of Marsha's book, The Junkyard

A writer's workshop for young offenders at Dublin's Mountjoy Prison is the source of this collection of 15 original Irish stories. They include: Kenno's loss of his parents to drug-related AIDS; Yogi's heroin addiction; and Bree's thoughts as she considers giving up her child for adoption.

Book Information

Most of Marsha Hunt's young offenders, in her writers' workshop at Dublin's Mountjoy Prison, are in their twenties and 90 per cent were (or are) heroin addicts from Dublin's inner city. "Write what you've lived. Write what you know. Write like you would to a trusted friend," Hunt told them. The result is The Junk Yard, - a tough-talking and poignant collection of 15 original Irish voices. Meet Denno who at age 17 loses both his father and mother to drug- related AIDS. Hear Yogi talk to his brother about splitting their heroin. Listen to Bree share her thoughts as she considers giving up her child for adoption.


Author Information

Author and actress Marsha Hunt, who is both founder and director of the SAGA Prize for unpublished black authors and the writer-in-residence at Mountjoy, states, "These prisoners have talent and the guts to reveal ugly facts about themselves. The tragic tales of addiction repeat like an echoed refrain, because the junk-yard can be a physical place or a mental state. When some of the stories were read out in class there was laughter, applause and a few tears."


Praise for The Junk Yard

"The writers in The Junk Yard have plenty to write about, but can they write? Yes they can. This is some of the most powerful writing I've read in years. I finished the book shattered and grateful."
--Roddy Doyle


"It's an extraordinary achievement and should be read by everyone who claims to be concerned with the way in which society treats the young wounded. The impact of these pieces is cumulative, the pain profound."
--Jennifer Johnston, author and playwright


"Some books like Trainspotting pretend to talk about the horrors of heroin addiction. This book gets closer to the bone than anything I've ever read. It shows us the dirt under the nails of addiction.
--Christy Dignam, Aslan


"A young acquaintance of mine is a heroin addict. This book told me things she did not. I am now in despair."
--Neil McCaffery, journalist




"The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical"

"Hair" is a celebration, not a story. It celebrates the human body, marijuana, love and sex...Beside a play like Hair, the plays of Tennessee Williams seem like exercises in voyeurism." Marsha became famous for her role in HAIR.

The New York Times


About the author:
Marsha Hunt shot to fame in the 60s as the star of Hair. Since then she has written six novels and her autobiography. She is the founder and director of the SAGA prize for unpublished black writers.


Did you know?
The National Portrait Gallery, London holds three photographic portraits of Marsha Hunt which you can view & purchase. Click here to see NPG site