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Maggie Smith: A Biography: A Biography

Maggie Smith: A Biography: A Biography


Maggie Smith: A Biography: A Biography

valoraciones:
3.5/5 (2 valoraciones)
Longitud:
14 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Dec 29, 2015
ISBN:
9781427271532
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descripción

No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith. Michael Coveney's biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades.

From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton, answering back to Laurence Olivier, or playing opposite Judi Dench in Breath of Life, her career can be seen as a 'Who's Who' of British theatre.

Her film and television career has been just as starry. From the title character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the meddling chaperone in A Room With a View to the Harry Potter films in which she played Minerva McGonagall (as she put it 'Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat') and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films in which she played the wise Muriel Donnelly, Smith has thrilled, engaged and made audiences laugh. As Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey she conquered millions more. Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public.

Michael Coveney's absorbing biography, written with the actress's blessing and drawing on personal archives, as well as interviews with immediate family and close friends, is a portrait of one of the greatest actors of our time.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Dec 29, 2015
ISBN:
9781427271532
Formato:
Audiolibro

Sobre el autor

Michael Coveney edited Plays and Players before going on to be staff theatre critic on the Financial Times, Observer and Daily Mail. He has published biographies of Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh and Andrew Lloyd Webber.


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Reseñas de lectores

  • (3/5)
    The biography of a true theatrical genius. One learns the details of her early years in British theatre and Hollywood. Her grace, beauty, talent, and total dedication to the craft shines through.
  • (3/5)
    Very dry reading; couldn't finish but did enjoy the pictures.
  • (4/5)
    Six-word review: Complex star shaped by fraught history.Extended review:If any one thing comes through clearly in this 2015 biography of one of the most accomplished, admired, and enduring of contemporary British actors, it's that being Maggie Smith is difficult and complicated.From her early stage days in Oxford in the 1950s to her recently concluded role as the dowager countess Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey, Dame Maggie has practiced the fine art of turning personal experience into drama or comedy or, more often, a riveting blend of both. The book tracks the development of her career from her first appearance at the age of 17 in a leading Shakespeare role to an anchoring role in the wildly popular television series, still running at the time of publication. The actress comes across as perfectionistic, tormented, driven, and brilliant.I wish it had delved more into her longtime friendship with the perennially popular Judi Dench, who seems in so many ways to be an opposite personality: easygoing, light-hearted, and a little bit scattered, prone to giggling ("corpsing") in performance, and always radiating an endearing warmth, even, somehow, when playing Lady Macbeth. One thing I love about them, both of them, is that neither has apparently feared to age in public; another is that their well-seasoned talent and skill seem never to falter or fade.The book is pretty hardcore, aimed at followers of theatre, especially British. Unlike some stars' bios (of which I've read maybe half a dozen all told), it's not pitched at an audience that reads celebrity profiles in popular magazines. Rather, it assumes more than a little knowledge of the personalities, the professional alliances and rivalries, and the milieu of theatre and film of the past six decades. Some of this I knew, and more I had to guess at; but the substance came across all the same.Descriptions of Dame Maggie in her various roles are often stunningly evocative, quoted from many sources and particularly from reviews; she seems to inspire in others a rendition in language that strives to be as apt as what she achieves in performance. Here's one quote that's especially vivid. Unfortunately my notes don't credit a source, though of course the book does: "Maggie's Susan [in Bed Among the Lentils] was suspended between seething resentment and a sort of bursting sexual anger. She glared and vibrated like a terribly cross stick insect." (page 216)I read this biography not so much to learn what makes Maggie tick--I don't think that's for any of us to know--but simply to glimpse the process by which she came to the top of her profession and remains there still, so many years later. Given the author's apparent thoroughness and care as a researcher, compiler, and presenter of historical data, I find two errors toward the end very surprising. Both pertain to Downton Abbey, a topic on which I warrant there are far more qualified amateur fact-checkers than there are when it comes to, say, revues of the 1950s or stage dramas of the 1970s. One is a reference to the Earl of Carnavon, who owns Highclere, the property where most of the series was filmed. The name is actually Carnarvon. It's not a typo. One instance is a typo; twice on one page (290), it's a misspelling.The second is a mention of Lady Sybil as the Earl of Grantham's second daughter (page 291) and Lady Edith as the third (page 292). I don't honestly see how anyone who watched the series could make that mistake. Sybil is the third and youngest, and Edith ("poor Edith") the perennially hapless middle child.