Gielgud: A Theatrical Life, 1904-2000

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9780826414038: Gielgud: A Theatrical Life, 1904-2000

Based on interviews with over 100 friends and colleagues who worked with Gielgud, this biography covers Gielgud's childhood amongst his famous Terry relations, his early struggles as a young actor, his triumphs in Shakespeare at the Old Vic and his late flowering as an Oscar-winning film star.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Croall is the author of twelve books, and has directed and written plays for the London fringe. Since 1991, he has been editor of the National Theatre's magazine StageWrite. He is currently working on a book about the National Theatre's production of Hamlet. He lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

Three-quarters of the way through this elegant, finely researched biography it comes as something of a shock to discover that its subject, one of the greatest actors of the last century, had a mischievous sense of humor. Once, just before sweeping onstage in a 1961 production of The Cherry Orchard, Gielgud handed a fellow actor a cucumber and whispered, "Put that somewhere for me, will you?" This moment is a great relief in part because Croall takes Gielgud so seriously that he seldom conveys the warmth and humor that the actor so often brought to his parts. Despite that shortcoming, Croall, editor of the National Theater's magazine StageWrite since 1991, has done tremendously thorough and sensitive work, making extensive use of his interviews with more than 100 of Gielgud's co-stars and colleagues, and selectively using such sources as memoirs, journals and press clippings, never substituting them for his own interpretations or observations. Gielgud made his mark on the British stage early on only three years after his 1921 London stage debut as a walk-on soldier in Henry V, at the age of 20 he was cast as Romeo and worked in theater, radio, film and television almost until his death in 2000 at age 96. Although Croall is most interested in Gielgud's professional accomplishments, he also provides a well-observed sense of the actor's personal life, including his long-term relationship with the handsome and reclusive Martin Hensler. Croall also renders, without sensationalism, Gielgud's anguish when the tabloid press reported his humiliating 1953 arrest for cruising a public men's room (audiences, more forgiving than journalists, greeted him with a standing ovation when he appeared on stage soon after the incident). Other biographies of Gielgud will no doubt be forthcoming, but Croall has set a high standard.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Jonathan Croall
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Croall, Jonathan
Published by Continuum (2001)
ISBN 10: 0826414036 ISBN 13: 9780826414038
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