Sir Laurence Olivier met everyone, knew everyone, and played every role in existence. But Olivier was as elusive in life as he was on the stage. A bold and practiced pretender, he changed names, toyed with his own identity, and defied characterization throughout his life, urging on millions of fans and mythmakers in the United States and Britain.
In this mesmerizing biography, acclaimed biographer Terry Coleman draws for the first time on the vast archive of Olivier's private papers and correspondence and those of his family, finally revealing the history and the private self that Olivier worked so masterfully all his life to obscure. From the start of his career, Olivier maintained a volatile connection between his acting and his personal relationships.
Following the death of his mother when he was eleven, Olivier was defined by a passionate devotion to the women closest to him. And for Olivier, acting and sex were inseparable: his turbulent marriage to Gone With the Wind star Vivien Leigh became both a powerful inspiration and a relentless torment, and for twenty years the two were the royal family of the British stage. Through this and other famous romances -- including his third marriage, to Joan Plowright -- as well as trysts with lesser-known mistresses, his romantic life was constantly entangled with his stage work, each feeding the other and driving Olivier to greater heights. And the heights were great. At every step he was surrounded by the foremost celebrities of the time, on both sides of the Atlantic -- Richard Burton, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, William Wyler, Arthur Miller, Katharine Hepburn. The list is as long as it is dazzling.
Here is the first comprehensive account of the man whose own autobiography, written late in his life, told only a small part of the story. In Olivier, Terry Coleman uncovers the origins of Olivier's genius and reveals the methods of the century's most fascinating performer.
Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 2005
This is a USED BOOK in Like New condition. The dust wrapper is also in Like New condition.