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My Father Laurence Olivier: Unabridged Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sir Laurence's delightfully quirky letters to "Tarkie" and his mother form the core of this reminiscence "about Jill, Larry, Vivien, and what it was like to grow up among them." The author was 10 months old (the year was 1937) when his father left him and his mother, actress Jill Esmond, to marry Vivien Leigh. In this forgiving memoir he handles the divorce with grace and delicacy, doing nothing to hide his adoration of his Da. The book rests heavily on anecdotes that would be uninteresting were the family in question other than Olivier's. The author is at pains to demolish the "wall of untruth which has become ever more solid with each succeeding biography" of his father, a wall to which the subject himself contributed in his 1982 Confessions of an Actor. The author maintains that his mother's influence on his father's early career was significant, and he is vehement in his denial that Sir Laurence had affairs with critic Kenneth Tynan and entertainer Danny Kaye (" . . . unforgivable garbage"). His portrait of the great thespian in old age is memorable and affecting: "His defiance was magnificent, his fury noble; he was impossible." Olivier died in 1989 at the age of 82. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Though the senior Olivier callously abandoned Tarquin and his mother, actress Jill Esmond, shortly after his birth in 1936, Tarquin apparently never bore any enduring ill-will toward his wayward and indifferent parent. Rather than dwelling on Olivier's well-documented shortcomings as a husband, a father, and a human being, the author prefers to emphasize Larry's development as a thespian and his astonishingly rapid evolution from young hopeful to one of the premier theatrical talents of the twentieth century. Understandably, a great deal of attention is devoted to examining Olivier's doomed first marriage; in fact, Jill Esmond emerges as the unacknowledged guiding force behind his early success on the stage. Tarquin also faithfully recounts his father's passionate, tempestuous, and ultimately tragic relationship with the lovely but unstable Vivien Leigh. Since Olivier virtually cut Tarquin out of his life upon his marriage to actress Joan Plowright in 1960, very little information about Olivier's declining years is provided. Interspersed with numerous excerpts from family letters and fuzzy personal anecdotes, this often saccharine and highly selective chronicle is more filial tribute than conventional biography. Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Soundings Ltd; Unabridged edition (December 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854968777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854968777
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

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