He has been described as “bold, brazen, and totally unabashed,” “one of a kind,” and “clearly a genius.” He won the Canadian figure-skating championships six times and brought back a bronze medal from the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. He revolutionized men’s figure skating, single-handedly transforming an athletic competition into a modern art form. He is an artist, celebrity, costume designer, broadcaster, choreographer of skating routines, coach, bon vivant, world traveller, art collector, legend, and enigma. And Toller Cranston has stories to tell.
Like the time at Lake Placid when a woman drove her car directly into his bedroom and seduced him, and the groupie who broke into his house and waited for him naked except for a few strategically arranged rose petals. He writes about his encounters with the great and famous. (On meeting Joni Mitchell, for example, he asked, politely, “You sing, don’t you?”) With mixed feelings, he describes his reaction upon viewing a German-made pornographic film in which he played an unexpected part.
This is not so much a sequel to Toller Cranston’s previous best-selling memoir, Zero Tollerance, as a companion volume. There are skating stories and stories from the world of art, there are stories of good times and of bad, high times and low. There are portraits of extraordinary people who have shaped and coloured his life, parting thoughts about his relationship with the management group IMG, about his own retirement, and about the condition of skating today. But this is chiefly an entertaining look back on the first half of an eventful, unusual life by a great Canadian artist and performer.
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Toller Cranston continues both to skate professionally and to paint prolifically. He divides his time between Toronto and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
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