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Dark Star

A Biography of Vivien Leigh
Narrated by: Alasdair Buchan
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

Bloomsbury presents Dark Star by Alan Strachan, read by Alasdair Buchan.

Winner of the Society for Theatre Research Book Prize 2020

Vivien Leigh was perhaps the most iconic actress of the 20th 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 20th century’s greatest actresses.

Front cover: Angus McBean Collection, MS Thr 581. © Houghton Library, Harvard University.

©2020 Alan Strachan (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic reviews

"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

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Too long...

This book would be the perfect read if shorter. I lost interest two thirds of the way through...

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  • Slimer
  • 19-10-20

So much more to this actress and kind friend

I have seen and read many superficial accounts of her life. I did not know of her many stage projects that were so successful and her struggles with mental illness and lung disease. She worked very hard on her craft and being a consistent, kind individual. She was devastated when she ruined relationships and projects due to her loss of mental stability and tuberculosis.. Still, so many friends , relatives, ex husbands and professional associates loved and admired her and saw her unique artistry. It was a fascinating listen.

1 person found this helpful