Confessions of an Actor

Confessions of an Actor - Laurence Olivier [These notes were made in 1984:]. Olivier's autobiography is full of satisfying detail and even more satisfying name-dropping. Instead of adopting the usual self-justificatory tone, he inverts it to one of deep humility - a rather self-conscious humility, at that: no doubt the consequence of growing up a minister's son. If there is one habit he has that really irks me, it's that of adding "ie" on to everyone's name - "Ralphie," "Willie Walton," "Noelie." The two real standouts from thais rule are Vivien Leigh and Peter Finch, with whom she had an affair just before the end of her marriage to Olivier. I must say that Olivier manages to slide rather well over the apparent meanness of divorcing a mentally ill woman on her way to death. He is, in that respect, a persuasive enough writer. But I feel much happier when he is telling cheerful anecdotes about the making of Henry V or rehearsing and improvising in Private Lives.