Hollywood superstar; Oscar-winning director; greatest stage actor of the twentieth century. His era abounded in greats - Gielgud, Richardson, Guinness, Burton, O'Toole - but none could challenge Laurence Olivier's range and power. By the 1940s he had achieved international stardom. His affair with Vivien Leigh led to a marriage as glamorous and as tragic as any in Hollywood history. He was as accomplished a director as he was a leading man: his three Shakespearian adaptations are among the most memorable ever filmed. Off-stage, Olivier was the most extravagant of characters: generous, yet almost insanely jealous of those few contemporaries whom he deemed to be his rivals; charming but with a ferocious temper. With access to more than fifty hours of candid, unpublished interviews, Philip Ziegler ensures that Olivier's true character - at its most undisguised - shines through as never before.
'A triumph ... It succeeds, as far as is humanly possible, in bringing alive on the page Olivier's magnetic theatrical presence, which those who saw him act will never forget' John Carey, Sunday Times. * Sunday Times * 'An elegant and increasingly compelling book' Simon Callow, Guardian. * Guardian * 'Without adulation, sentimentality and or sneer, layer by layer as the 82 years of Olivier's life flow by Ziegler painstakingly uncovers a portrait of a real man. It is enthralling. I took it on holiday and could hardly bear to finish it ... tremendous' Libby Purves, The Times. * The Times * 'Philip Ziegler's splendid biography confirms the contention that Lord Olivier OM is as great a figure in the history of the English theatre as David Garrick or Sir Henry Irving' Economist. * Economist * 'Philip's book is the Larry I knew' Tarquin Olivier. * Tarquin Olivier *
About Philip Ziegler
Philip Ziegler was a diplomat before becoming an editorial director at the publishers William Collins. His many books include acclaimed biographies of Laurence Olivier, William IV, Lady Diana Cooper, Lord Mountbatten and Harold Wilson, as well as the classic history of the Black Death.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations. Beginnings. Apprentice Days. Breakthrough. Birth of a Classical Actor. Film Star. War. Naval Officer. The Old Vic. 'Hamlet'. Australasia. Life Without the Old Vic. Disintegration of a Marriage. Stratford. L.O.P. Marking Time. Chichester. The National: Act One. The National: Act Two. The National: Act Three. Problems. Challenges. Who Will Take Over? The Coming of Hall. Olivier's Occupation Gone? Old Age. Death. Biographer's Afterword. Note on Sources. Notes. Acknowledgments. Index. Picture Credits.
Olivier by Philip Ziegler
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