Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison by Alexander Walker, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison

Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison

by Alexander Walker
     
 
For decades Rex Harrison was the king of the English stage. "My Fair Lady" immortalised his persona, the epitome of the English gentleman, but beneath those easy manners and cool wit lurked a tyrannical egoism. Rex always needed a woman beside him and he married six times; both Carole Landis, a young starlet, and Rachel Roberts, the actress who was his fourth wife,

Overview

For decades Rex Harrison was the king of the English stage. "My Fair Lady" immortalised his persona, the epitome of the English gentleman, but beneath those easy manners and cool wit lurked a tyrannical egoism. Rex always needed a woman beside him and he married six times; both Carole Landis, a young starlet, and Rachel Roberts, the actress who was his fourth wife, committed suicide. Alexander Walker traces the public and private life of this brilliant actor, from his genteel beginnings in the suburbs of Liverpool through hard graft and triumph on the English stage, to a prurient Hollywood from which scandal forced him to flee. Drawing on unpublished sources, on conversations with Rex Harrison and on interviews with Harrison's closest family and friends, Alexander Walker portrays Rex Harrison, the high-comedy actor, and Rex Harrison, the incomparable despot.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Top-drawer, custom-tailored life of actor Rex Harrison, whose charm dynamited many a lady's heart while his towering tongue whipped her. By far the best of Walker's many books (Garbo, Dietrich, Elizabeth, etc.) and the best about Harrison (including the actor's own amusing but lightweight autobiography A Damned Serious Business, 1991), this presents itself in finely cut anecdotes and textured language that Harrison himself might have admired. Like Cary Grant, Harrison (1908-90) grew into his stage and screen persona so remarkably that one forgets he was not always a lady- killing swine—though he did take to acting at age four and became a monocle-wearing fop at 18. Harrison also took to girls very early, and as a child liked swimming nude in secret with a girl neighbor. He distanced himself from his father, modelling himself on his mother. Harrison played endless walk-ons and minor roles with the Liverpool Repertory Theatre, and he began imitating the casual by-play of "personality actors" who could dominate the stage no matter how bad their lines. Movie bits led to film and stage leads and at last to the film version of Shaw's Major Barbara. Harrison was never a light comedian, always playing high comedy, and Shaw became the centerpost of a career crowned by his role in Heartbreak House: The actor cared little for his films. His love life and six wives take up major space here, along with the suicides of lover Carol Landis and ex-wife Rachel Roberts, his cruelly rampant infidelities, and the glory of his unshakable snobbery. Tyrannosaurus Rex, tricked out in imperial purple. (B&w illustrations—not seen)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780752849010
Publisher:
Orion Publishing Group, Limited
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Pages:
608
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.46(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >