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Dark Star


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Table of Contents

List of Plates Acknowledgements Prologue 1. A Child of the Raj 2. Hours Nearer Death 3. Young Wife and Mother 4. Enter Olivier 5. Altered States 6. Printing a Legend 7. Star-Crossed 8. Wartime Dramas 9. From Sabina to Anna 10. Down Under 11. The Kindness of Strangers 12. Two on the Nile 13. Crack-Up 14. Avonside 15. At Court 16. Ending A Legend 17. Worlds Elsewhere 18. Last Acts Epilogue Appendix Facts/"False Facts" Notes on Sources Select Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

Major new biography of the most iconic actress of the twentieth century.

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 Ayckbourn 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.


What makes this account of a familiar story outstanding is that Strachan wins the reader's trust ... As an experienced man of the theatre, he suggests, qualifies and adds interesting views of his own. * The Spectator *
[Vivien Leigh's] life, lived to the full at every second, will never be better told than it is in these pages. * The Sunday Times *
A gripping new biography. * The Daily Mail *
Strachan's meticulously researched, elegantly written volume is an eye-opener. Strachan's attention to detail is striking ... a valuable, authoritative record that supports [Leigh's] status as a great stage and screen actress. * The Herald *
This is a well-written biography of a much-loved star. Strachan achieves that rare thing of exposing his subject whilst maintaining their integrity. Leigh, who was fiercely private, would have been proud of this book. * The Lady *
Alan Strachan does a fine job in reasserting [Vivien Leigh's] status, not merely re-examining her stage work, but also becoming the first biographer to give due attention to the underrated films she made. * Country Life *
'Reading this book is like meeting Vivien Leigh in her glory and her despair. One of the most revealing showbiz biographies ever.' -- Sir Ian McKellen
'This is an enthralling book. It enthrals you by its meticulous research, its lucid language and its depiction of a Legend and a World that do not exist anymore. Alas.' -- Michael Codron
'A wonderful tribute to a great actress and a fascinating insight into her troubled life and the machinations of the West End theatre during the middle of the twentieth century. Unputdownable.' -- Dame Penelope Keith DBE, DL
'Impeccable research into this fascinating actress make Dark Star a page turner. The reader is as desperate to see past her ravishing beauty to the tender, tortured woman beneath as is the author.' -- Maureen Lipman
'Three cheers for this. Alan Strachan's long overdue perceptive insight into one of the most fascinating, complex, troubled and talented actors of her time.' -- Alan Ayckbourn

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