4 May 2012 / Books

John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star

Why was John Gielgud considered the greatest classical actor of the twentieth century? What was the true nature of his difficult relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier? How as a gay man did he survive the sensational arrest that nearly ended his career?

These and other key questions about his glittering theatrical career and personal life are answered in Jonathan Croall’s definitive biography of this brilliant actor and complex personality, newly revised with new access to Gielgud’s family and his private papers.

Published by Methuen Drama, May 2011 ~ £30.00 ~ Hardback ~ ISBN 978-14081-31060 ~ on

As a follow-up to this biography, Jonathan Croall is compiling a slim volume devoted to Gielgud’s Wit and Wisdom. In His Own Words is a collection of his epigrams, witticisms, put-downs, pen-portraits of actors, directors and playwrights, and, not least, his celebrated Gielgoodies, those countless gaffes and dropped bricks which added to the gaiety of nations, if not to that of his victims. If you know of any examples, please do get in touch with the details –