Dark Star: A Biography of Vivien Leigh

Dark Star: A Biography of Vivien Leigh

by Alan Strachan


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781788312080
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 01/17/2019
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 197,832
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

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 Ayckbourban 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.

Table of Contents

List of Plates ix

Acknowledgements xii

Prologue xiv

1 A Child of the Raj 1

2 Hours Nearer Death 9

3 Young Wife and Mother 22

4 Enter Olivier 41

5 Altered States 57

6 Printing a Legend 71

7 Star-Crossed 92

8 Wartime Dramas 103

9 From Sabina to Anna 118

10 Down Under 133

11 The Kindness of Strangers 148

12 Two on the Nile 170

13 Crack-Up 187

14 Avonside 210

15 At Court 233

16 Ending a Legend 254

17 Worlds Elsewhere 274

18 Last Acts 292

Epilogue 310

Appendix Facts/False Facts 316

Notes on Sources 325

Select Bibliography 336

Index 340

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