Thursday 20 January 2011


Colin is staying, so I'm not going to be anti-social and blog at LENGTH, but I will ask this - I'm currently loving Judi Dench's And Furthermore, and wondered if you could recommend any other theatrical memoirs? I've ordered Irene Vanbrugh's To Tell My Story (anyone read this?) and would love any other ideas...


  1. I've had Christopher Plummer's In Spite of Myself on my wishlist since it came out and have heard great things about it.

    And since for better or for worse Plummer is linked with Julie Andrews in my mind, have you read her memoir Home? I loved it but then I've always been a fan of musical theatre.

  2. Not so much a theatrical 'memoir', but Gerald: A Portrait by Daphne du Maurier is very interesting. It follows her father's jaunts through various plays.

  3. Alec Guiness's memoirs were all worth reading.

  4. I made a note of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt by Robert Gottlieb after reading the review. It's still on my TBR list, but the review must've been good.

  5. I haven't read much in this vein, but I did like one by Simon Callow.

  6. I agree about Julie Andrews’ Home. It’s extremely engaging, suprising, and rather sad, but not in a self-pitying way. The Moon’s A Balloon by David Niven is often lauded as one of the best ever showbiz memoirs. It’s wonderfully witty and full of old Hollywood stories. Laurence Olivier’s On Acting is also full of fantastic stories, including one about how he was almost killed by Ralph Richardson! I could go on and on all day about actors’ memoirs! If you’d like to borrow any of the above, I’ve got them at home. See you soon!

  7. Like Thomas my first thought was of Simon Callow. I've not read "My Life in Pieces" but it sounds intriguing. Instead of a conventional biography, he has linked together many of his previously published articles and reviews and used them to tell the story of his professional life.

  8. Alec Guiness was superb with a pen. I often pick his memoirs up and reread. Andrew's Home for me was OK.

  9. Two I read and enjoyed were the autobiographies of Anthony Sher and Nigel Hawthorne.

  10. For more on Judi Dench's acting (and Anthony Hopkins, too), try Peter Hall Directs Anthony and Cleopatra (Paperback). Amazon:
    This book covers the creative process of the staging of a major National Theater production of the Shakespeare classic "Antony and Cleopatra". . ......As played by Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench it was critically hailed." Tirzah Lowen follows the process of putting the production together. . .This is a wonderful book for all who love Shakespeare and theater.:

  11. Utopia and Other Places, by Richard Eyre

  12. I really liked Julie Andrews' Home. But what's not to like about Julie Andrews? :)

  13. Dirk Bogarde was not only a talented actor, but also a writer of witty, polished novels and autobiographies. His autobiographies include A Postillion Struck by Lightning,
    Snakes and Ladders
    An Orderly Man
    Backcloth, 1986
    A Particular Friendship
    Great Meadow
    A Short Walk from Harrods, 1993
    Cleared for Take-Off, 1995

  14. Claire - thanks for the recommendation. I don't know much about Plummer, and must confess I'm not hugely interested, but Andrews could be interesting.. a lot of people in the comments have recommended it!

    Kirsty - great suggestion, Kirsty, especially since I think I have it somewhere!

    Annie - oh, another good suggestion. I am mostly (for some reason) interested in actresses, but that could be good too.

    Joanne - I love discovering notes like that! I often haven't the smallest idea why I wrote something down.

    Thomas - might be a bit modern for my taste... hmm... maybe? David's comment below does make it seem intriguing...

    Andrea - I knew you'd come up with the goods! I would quite like to borrow Olivier's, if that's ok?

    David - an interesting approach... It always seems a little odd to me that non-authors think they can write autobiographies - and often they do, very well - but that approach might make more sense for an actor.

    leazwell - a second recommendation for Mr. Guinness! He seems to be playing all the roles in the tbr pile himself ;)

    Cath - two I would never have thought of! Thanks.

    Becky - oh, that does sound fascinating, thank you. It's also a play I don't know - I only read half of it!

    Susan - thanks! I've never fully got on board the Julie Andrews train, perhaps because I came late to the Sound of Music, but I did grow up loving Mary Poppins and have enjoyed Thoroughly Modern Millie a couple of times. I would be interested to read about her time on the stage.

    Pat - wow, I had no idea he wrote so much, thank you!


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