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Dark Star: A Biography of Vivien Leigh
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Alan Strachan
Dark Star: A Biography of Vivien Leigh by Alan Strachan at Abbey's Bookshop,

Dark Star: A Biography of Vivien Leigh

Alan Strachan



Theatre Studies;
Film, TV & Radio;
Individual actors & performers;
Biography: arts & entertainment;
Social & cultural history


376 pages

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Vivien Leigh was perhaps the most iconic actress of the twentieth century. As Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche Du Bois she took on some of the most pivotal roles in cinema history. Yet she was also a talented theatre actress with West End and Broadway plaudits to her name. In this ground-breaking new biography, Alan Strachan provides a completely new full-life portrait of Leigh, covering both her professional and personal life. Using previously unseen sources from her archive, recently acquired by the V&A, he sheds new light on her fractious relationship with Laurence Olivier, based on their letters and diaries, as well as on the bipolar disorder which so affected her later life and work. Revealing new aspects of her early life as well as providing glimpses behind-the-scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire, this book provides the essential and comprehensive life-story of one of the twentieth century's greatest actresses.

By:   Alan Strachan
Imprint:   I B TAURIS
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 226mm,  Width: 155mm, 
Weight:   734g
ISBN:   9781788312080
ISBN 10:   1788312082
Pages:   376
Publication Date:   January 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

List of Plates Acknowledgements Prologue 1. A Child of the Raj 2. Hours Nearer Death 3. Young Wife and Mother 4. Enter Olivier 5. Altered States 6. Printing a Legend 7. Star-Crossed 8. Wartime Dramas 9. From Sabina to Anna 10. Down Under 11. The Kindness of Strangers 12. Two on the Nile 13. Crack-Up 14. Avonside 15. At Court 16. Ending A Legend 17. Worlds Elsewhere 18. Last Acts Epilogue Appendix Facts/ False Facts Notes on Sources Select Bibliography Index

Alan Strachan is a theatre director. In London's West End he has directed over thirty productions, and has also worked in regional theatre as well as in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin and New York often with leading actors and on plays ranging from Shakespeare, Shaw and Tennessee Williams to Alan Ayckbourn and Tom Stoppard. He is the author of Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave and Putting It On: The West End Theatre of Michael Codron.

This is an enthralling book. It enthrals you by its meticulous research, its lucid language and its depiction of a Legend and a World that do not exist anymore. Alas. - Michael Codron, `A wonderful tribute to a great actress and a fascinating insight into her troubled life and the machinations of the West End theatre during the middle of the 20th century. Unputdownable.' - Dame Penelope Keith DBE, DL, Reading this book is like meeting Vivien Leigh in her glory and her despair. One of the most revealing showbiz biographies ever. - Sir Ian McKellen, `Impeccable research into this fascinating actress make Dark Star a page turner. The reader is as desperate to see past her ravishing beauty to the tender, tortured woman beneath as is the author.' - Maureen Lipman

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