Maggie smith by michael coveney
Maggie Smith by Michael CoveneyNo one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith. Michael Coveneys biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades. From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggies path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton, answering back to Laurence Olivier, or playing opposite Judi Dench in Breath of Life, her career can be seen as a Whos Who of British theatre. Her film and television career has been just as starry. From the title character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the meddling chaperone in A Room With a View to the Harry Potter films in which she played Minerva McGonagall (as she put it Miss Jean Brodie in a wizards hat) and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films in which she played the wise Muriel Donnelly, Smith has thrilled, engaged and made audiences laugh. As Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey she conquered millions more. Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public. Michael Coveneys absorbing biography, written with the actresss blessing and drawing on personal archives, as well as interviews with immediate family and close friends, is a portrait of one of the greatest actors of our time.
How absolutely awful. I can't think of anything worse… Ooh, but there's nothing to write about… I haven't done anything. I don't know what it is I do. That said, during a subsequent conversation she invited him backstage after a Broadway matinee performance of Peter Shaffer's Lettice and Lovage. When Coveney, a critic, spoke to Cross, the latter was encouraging. All this took place in the early Nineties in preparation for a previous edition of this book, but it remains one of the sprightliest and most revelatory passages, since, suddenly, Smith is not being reported at a second-hand distance but is there on the telephone and in a dressing room.
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The succession of blockbuster movie roles, two of which won Oscars, and her subsequent television triumphs are far more well-known than the amazing range of stellar stage performances that he assiduously chronicles. There are far too many parts to mention here, but I can never forget the impression Ms. The stories here about her and Olivier are among the most piquant in a book crammed with such treats. Coveney does an exemplary job of pointing out the personal effort and cost of producing such a huge quantity of high-quality work. His explication of her difficult childhood and complicated pair of intertwined marriages are sympathetic and illuminative of the spikier as well as the surprisingly gentler sides of her character, without any special pleading or reductionism. She is also apparently a woman capable of great kindness and other softer qualities not notable in so many of her more famous roles.