Rex Harrison was certainly the master of high comedy. A charismatic performer, he personified the dapper English gentleman with cool wit and easy manners on stage and screen for fifty years. His greatest triumph came in the form of MY FAIR LADY which he did successfully on both stage and screen. He won an Oscar for his screen portrayal of Henry Higgins and was forever linked with that character.
But as Alexander Walker shows, it was not as rosy behind the image. Walker traces the actor's life from his beginnings in Liverpool, to his disastrous debut on the English stage. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Harrison would begin to cultivate his image as the lovable scoundrel which would become his trademark on stage and screen, and to a slightly different extent, in real life. He attained stardom playing these types of roles in the 1940s, and his success led him to Hollywood and to Broadway.
Walker spares nothing as he tells the story of Harrison's six marriages (Colette Thomas, Lilli Palmer, Kay Kendall, Rachel Roberts, Elizabeth Rees-Williams, and Mercia Tinker) as well as the affair with Carole Landis, who's suicide almost wrecked Harrison's career and forced him to flee from Hollywood, only to triumph on Broadway in ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS (his Hollywood career was not hurt in the process). Throughout it all, Harrison lived the life on an absolute monarch. He was arrogant, egotistical and volatile, but what is not lost here is the undeniable talent that made him the master of high comedy.