Cardiff-born, Ivor Novello was a major figure in the British theatre. He began life as a composer, and wrote many songs for revues and operettas. Almost by accident he became a leading star in silent films and was known as "the handsomest man in England", with a following that put him in the same league as Rudolph Valentino. He then turned to the theatre and won more acclaim as a stage actor. A fourth career opened when he started writing plays that consolidated his already considerable West End reputation.
Yet, for all his wealth and the constant adulation that surrounded him, Novello was often deeply unhappy. Drawing on the testimony of people who knew him, this book explains why, and gives an account of the psychological complexities that lay behind a facade of easy charm and unbroken success.