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Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752849018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752849010
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,732,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Rex Harrison was the defination of the English gentleman, he charmed audiences on stage and film for over 40 years and was best known and beloved for playing Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady" on Stage and on screen.

But beneath the charm lurked a tyrannical side to Harrison, egotistical, arrogant, snobbish and rude, he was loathed by many who worked and knew him. Alexander Walker traces Harrison's beginnings from Liverpool, to the English Stage, to movies in England and then to Hollywood.

Special detail here is given to Harrison's six wives, including his fourth wife Rachel Roberts' suicide and the death of Kay Kendall from leukemia, a disease she never knew she had, since Harrison had kept it from her even on her deathbed. Also given special treatment is Harrison's involvement in the suicide of his mistress, starlet Carole Landis, where the scandal forced him to flee Hollywood and almost destroyed his career.

But Harrison goes on after the scandal to continue being a major star, he goes from Stage to films and finally to the role that would be his landmark, Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady"

But despite the fact that Harrison is revealed as a most unpleasant man, Walker does not ignore the truimphs of this brilliant actor, he is quick to point out that Harrison was one of the greatest high comedy actors of his time.

Great bio on a great star.
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Format: Paperback
Rex Harrison, for many years he was the epitome of the English gentleman, none of his roles better demonstrated this than Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady".

Alexander Walker brilliantly reveals the Harrison behind the charm as an arrogant, difficult, spoilt egotistical actor. But what is not lost is Harrison's triumphs on stage and screen, which is given as much detail as his volatile personality.

Very revealing insight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b18b648) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b19ee04) out of 5 stars Honest and thoughtful biography of England's premire Shavian Jan. 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In spite of a rather trite title,FATAL CHARM. is indeed one of,if not the best written book on the life of the late Sir Rex Harrison. Mr. Walker shows us the great actor warts and all and we end up loving and understanding Harrison all the more because of it. It is all here,his six marriages,humble liverpool beginnings,his fear of singing on stage, and his volitle personality, Mr. Walker describes the great kindnesses he gave Kay Kendall and Lilli Palmer on their death beds,he also tells of the dreadful scenes with Palmer and 4th wife Rachel Roberts. The more you read the more you get to know Rex the man,not just the persona he put forth to people.In short Fatal Charm is a refreashing account of the personal and proffessional life of one of our centuries greatest shows how one man's personal life,his tradgedies and triumphs,can propell him proffessionally to a point of perfectionisim that would not have been there if he were a less irracible man.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b2cebac) out of 5 stars Great bio on Rex Harrison Aug. 16 2006
By Drake - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was not particulary happy when I discovered that this great actor was arrogant, difficult to work with and bascially an unpleasant man. But what does not get lost is the impact that Harrison made in his career on the stage and in films.

While his cruel personality detracts any love for the man from me, it does not tarnish the fact that he was a very gifted performer. Alexander Walker did his homework in bringing Harrison's tempestious and volatile personality to life and also bringing his achievements and make us understand that while he was hated by many personally, he was loved professionally by the audience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b2cebd0) out of 5 stars Excellent Depiction of a Talented Cad Oct. 4 2012
By Larry Gevirtz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rex Harrison was a master of light comedy and became a major star with his legendary portrayal of Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady". He was also an egocentric cad who was hardly fun to live with, as his ex-wives and mistreated children could testify. (Two of his loves later committed suicide.) This is a thoroughly researched book that highlights Harrison's acting skills while not at all downplaying his nasty personality. It makes for fascinating reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b2cebb8) out of 5 stars A dramatic life Dec 29 2011
By perryhaymes678 - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b22f9b4) out of 5 stars Too little for a man who was so much July 19 2008
By Carol M. Taylor - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sir Rex Harrison acted on stage and screen for almost 70 years, spawning classics onto which he put his own unique style, making those parts his forever. Can anyone visualize the role of Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady" being played by anyone else? Impossible! As a life long fan, one who once had the chance to catch him on Broadway, this biography is a nice balanced look of this remarkable man, gifted with a great talent, but all too human, and many demons from poor choices dogged his life. His story is not all glamour and glory, but it does provide an interesting perspective on the life of one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. The book is worth reading just for the chaotic behind the scenes life of Hollywood in her Golden Years.

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