Fatal Charm: The Life of Rex Harrison Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.