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As Luck Would Have It Hardcover – September 12, 2013

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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‘An absolute delight of feel-good reading’ Sunday Express

About the Author

Born in Leytonstone, London in 1938, Derek Jacobi always wanted to be an actor. At the age of six, Derek made his acting debut, playing both lead roles in a local library production of The Prince and the Swineherd. He won a scholarship to Cambridge, where he studied and acted alongside other future greats including Ian McKellen. His talent was quickly recognised and in 1963 he was invited to become one of the founder members of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre. Olivier’s protégé, Derek later, in turn, became mentor to Kenneth Branagh.

Derek Jacobi has worked nonstop throughout his career, starring in roles including the lead in I, Claudius, the monk detective Cadfael, Hitler in Inside The Third Reich and Francis Bacon in the controversial Love Is The Devil. But it is his numerous Shakespearean roles that have gained him worldwide recognition. He is the only actor, apart from Sir Laurence Olivier, to have the honour of holding two knighthoods, Danish and English.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007458878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007458875
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Peters on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the worlds great actors puts pen to paper and allows his many admirers to know how he became Sir Derek Jacobi. He has a remarkable memory for the smallest detail and surprisingly, the reader discovers that this wonderful actor is simply a real person underneath the "Sir".
I hated to put this book down and immediately wanted to read volume II but Sir Derek has covered the seventy plus years of his very interesting life in a this one terrific book. I'm sure in a few years I'll re-read it. Meanwhile, since he is a tireless working actor, I look forward to seeing him in any new production that he's a part of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alice L. Nelson on April 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was well written, and I enjoyed reading it. Love knowing it will be in my collection of Derek Jacobi memorabilia. He's my favorite actor.
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Format: Hardcover
Derek Jacobi is a great actor, and this is a good read-- although more an extended interview than an autobiography.
Two things disappointed me about it, however.
First, as a not-rich American, i've never seen Jacobi on stage, just his wonderful TV performances from I, Claudius to the BBC Shakespeare series. So I'd have liked more on that and less on his stage career. Reading about that was like flying coach and glimpsing the attendants pass out the goodies to the first class passengers. (Of course, watching DVDs is much better than flying coach.)
Second, I especially admire Jacobi for the courage and generosity with which he has stood up to the academic and theater establishment in support of Shakespeare authorship skepticism. So I was hoping to read about how he came to doubt the conventional authorship juggernaut. But there's no mention of it! I suppose I see why-- might have cut down on sales if it contained such heresies.
Still, it was odd. Jacobi presents himself as an unassuming lower middle class lad who just happened to have an enormous talent, rather as William of Stratford is presented by the establishment. That's one reason "Gentle Will" is such an idol to our culture. But the difference between William Shakespeare and Derek Jacobi is that we can see Jacobi displaying his talent, but there are only faint documented connections between Will and the Shakespeare canon. Jacobi demonstrates considerable critical intelligence as well as courage and generosity in supporting the skeptics, which makes his self-portrait as a not very literary plain ol' nice guy seem a bit anomalous.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sir Derek Jacobi is a legend in English theatre, TV and film. He is not tied to one category in his performing, but his Shakespeare - particularly his Hamlet - is the best. Put that performance up against his playing the title role in the legendary BBC series, "I, Claudius." THAT is versatility without ever resorting to grandstanding. He isn't afraid to show his vulnerability. This man is very humble, lives a quiet life, but is very open and honest about his life, from young childhood up. His story will prove an inspiration to those who question their place in The Arts. There is room for almost every talent, once you find out what yours is. I love this book as much as I love his performances.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From the great masters Oliver, Gielgud, Scofield right up tothe present day, this book has everything about the UK theatre world.
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By Kam M. on June 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
pretty boring book, but it's Derek Jacobi !! so I'm interested, and I will finish it.
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By Liz Siber on November 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A bit 'luvvie' but a good read. He does like to name drop!
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