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Olivier - Terry Coleman

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Olivier - the authorised biography
Terry Coleman
UK Publication Date

Olivier is an unexpected portrait of the twentieth century's greatest actor. His was a fairytale story - the clergyman's son who, on the strength of one season at the Old Vic, became a great Shakespearean actor and went on to conquer Hollywood - yet Olivier struggled with the dark side of his genius. Abandoning his first wife, he married Vivien Leigh; a manic depressive, she dominated his life for twenty years. When he finally wrenched himself away, he was plagued by a guilt that only incessant work could expiate. He married Joan Plowright, had a new young family, and was the founding director of the National Theatre - yet even the NT, he felt, ended in betrayal. Drawing on his unlimited and uncensored access to Olivier's personal papers, love letters and diaries, Terry Coleman has written a landmark biography.

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Terry Coleman, as a political journalist, interviewed eight prime ministers, from Macmillan to Blair, and in 1988 was named journalist of the year. His previous books include a biographical study of Thomas Hardy and a widely acclaimed biography of Nelson.

'***** It presents a full account of Olivier's genius: the single-minded determination to make himself a great Shakespearean actor, the courage and invention of his stagecraft, the ruthless zeal to be the best'
Mail on Sunday

'Coleman is an immensely distinguished journalist and biographer … Everything about the book is as far removed from the standard showbiz biography as could be imagined, from its clean and muscular prose to its rigorous methodology … It is stuffed with fascinating new information'
Simon Callow, Guardian

'Olivier was one hell of an actor and he also had one hell of a life, and Coleman relates it with relish … He captures the actor's corrosive sense of guilt and fear, as well as his daring and his sheer pluck'
Sunday Telegraph

'Tremendous … the chapters on his period at the National Theatre convey pathos and understanding'
Sunday Times

Keyword Index
Actors - Great Britain - Biography.
Country of Publication
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