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Maggie Smith A Biography by Michael Coveney
  

Maggie Smith A Biography

Biography / Autobiography   

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The definitive biography of Maggie Smith, grande dame of stage and screen, and a national treasure. No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage-lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, one whose career spans six decades.

Synopsis

Maggie Smith A Biography by Michael Coveney

From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton (by his own admission), answering back to Laurence Olivier, or impressing Ingmar Bergman, her career can be seen as a Who's Who of British theatre in the twentieth century. This book also covers her success in Hollywood, inaugurated by her first Oscar for her signature film, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, as well as her subsequent departure to Canada for a prolific four-season run of leading theatre roles. Recently Dame Maggie has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the phenomenally successful television series Downton Abbey, and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film franchise: what she herself describes as 'Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat'. Yet paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Michael Coveney's absorbing biography, drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, is therefore as close as it gets to seeing the real Maggie Smith.

Reviews

'From early days in the theatre to Miss Jean Brodie and Downton's formidable Dowager, Maggie Smith has endeared herself to millions. This engaging and fascinating biography reveals the life and career of one of our finest actresses.' WOMAN & HOME BOOK OF THE WEEK

'Inspiring stuff' NEW magazine

'As [Michael] Coveney portrays her in this informative, well-crafted biography, Smith brings to her role as Dowager Countess [in Downton Abbey] the acerbic wit, sly irreverence, and masterly technique that has served her throughout her long career. Steeped in theatre history, and with full cooperation from Smith; her husband, actor Beverley Cross; family and colleagues, including her close friend Judi Dench, Coveney seamlessly melds Smith's personal and professional lives into an engrossing narrative ... An authoritative and perceptive portrait.' KIRKUS REVIEWS

About the Author

Michael Coveney is one of the country's most respected writers on theatre. Formerly staff critic for the Financial Times, the Observer and the Daily Mail, he has since 2006 been the chief critic for the leading West End website WhatsOnStage.com. He has unprecedented access to Dame Maggie Smith's personal archives and curated the recent BFI season of her film and television work. His previous books include The Citz, The Aisle is Full of Noises, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Story, The World According to Mike Leigh, Knight Errant: Memoirs of a Vagabond Actor (with Robert Stephens) and Ken Campbell: The Great Caper. He lives in Hampstead, north London.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Michael Coveney

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Publisher

Format

Hardback

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ISBN

9781474600231

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