Sybil Thorndike: A Star of Life HB
Sybil Thorndike was one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century. Loved and admired as a great actress, she was also a feminist, a socialist and a pacifist, who fought throughout her long life for a better and more peaceful world.
As a young actress she spent three years barnstorming round America, playing over a hundred Shakespearean parts. Throughout the First World War she led the Old Vic company under its formidable manager Lilian Baylis, while bringing up four young children. She introduced Greek tragedy to the West End, and became a household name with Saint Joan, a part Bernard Shaw wrote especially for her.
In the Second World War she embarked upon trail-blazing tours of the mining areas of Wales, afterwards witnessing the devastation of post-war Europe with a company headed by Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson, and later touring the world with her celebrated poetry recitals.With unique access to her family's archive, and using hundreds of unpublished letters, Jonathan Croall - author of the much-praised "Gielgud: A Theatrical Life" - has produced an engaging, sympathetic but critical account of the vicar's daughter who became a celebrated actress and public figure. Through interviews with over a hundred actors, directors and playwrights, and extended conversations with members of her family, he has pinned down in absorbing and entertaining detail Sybil Thorndike's larger-than-life, unstoppable personality. He reveals the intense, often violent nature of her relationship on and off stage with her husband, the actor and director Lewis Casson, and her struggles to combine motherhood with a glittering stage career and support for innumerable causes, great and small.
Hardback: 584 pages
Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.8 x 22.9 cm
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