Olivier : The Authorised Biography

4.01 (90 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

List price: US$12.06

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


"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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 624 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 48mm | 458.13g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • Illustrations (some col.), ports. (some col.)
  • 0747580804
  • 9780747580805
  • 1,075,866

Review quote

'***** 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 Timesshow more

About Terry Coleman

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.show more

Rating details

90 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 32% (29)
4 40% (36)
3 26% (23)
2 1% (1)
1 1% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X