Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh

Vivien The Life of Vivien Leigh This is the best book we have had on Vivien Leigh the most thoroughly and shrewdly researched the most acute in its realization that Leigh was an actress who had to find herself in her parts if she

  • Title: Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh
  • Author: AlexanderWalker
  • ISBN: 9780802132598
  • Page: 378
  • Format: Paperback
  • This is the best book we have had on Vivien Leigh, the most thoroughly and shrewdly researched, the most acute in its realization that Leigh was an actress who had to find herself in her parts if she was to do well, but who invariably began to destroy herself in the process The Boston Sunday Globe

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      Published :2018-09-20T12:03:43+00:00

    1 thought on “Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh”

    1. I have seldom been more disappointed with a biography. I felt it should have been wonderful, considering the authority of the sources and the expertise of the author. However, it was dense and often dull in its repetitiveness. Other times, he left out key facts. For instance, Vivien suddenly has a relapse of her tuberculosis, and yet we were never told when she contracted it to begin with!Walker continues to draw conclusions based on vague facts, painting a very two-dimensional image of a remark [...]

    2. I always loved Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind, because she is so charismatic and such a beauty; you watch no-one else while she is on screen. And the story of how a virtually unknown English actress bumped out of the running hundreds of hopefuls for Margaret Mitchell's very American story demonstrates Vivien Leigh's determination.Her life story and love affairs were interesting reading because the intensity of her presence on the screen seems to match that of her personal life. She is descri [...]

    3. It was on refection of what would have been Vivien Leigh's hundred and first birthday, in November 2014, that I revisited Alexander Walker's biography, one I had previously relished but which had triggered disappointment in some. I've said before: if it's a movieography you want, click on or the Internet Movie Database. There isn't much to see. Leigh didn't make a long list of films comparable to other legends of her standing. This serious actress was at heart a great theatre performer, like he [...]

    4. Poor, poor Vivien. That's what kept circulating through my mind as I read this. Last night I had only 30 pages left, but it took me two hours to read them; I could not stop crying over how tragic the last few years of her life were.The author writes most eloquently about her life and feelings, painting a vast panorama of Vivien's life and providing insight into not only how professional she was, but how brave. This biography reads like a novel, and Walker places the same emphasis on character as [...]

    5. If you are interested in the marriage of Vivien Leigh and Laurance Olivier, this is the book for you. I wanted a book with its main focus on Leigh's career. I thought I had read somewhere that this book was it. But I was greatly disappointed in that regard. Only 2 movies get much attention and those were her big ones, Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. But even with these the focus is off for me. We learned for the millionth time how she got the part of Scarlett. I wanted to know w [...]

    6. I'm still seeking the definitive biography of Vivien Leigh. Unfortunately, this wasn't it. Alexander Walker's take on Vivien's life is superficial, perhaps by necessity. Laurence Olivier and Jack Merivale were still alive when it was written. I was immediately annoyed by the separation of the book into three categories: "Leigh, Larry and Jack," as if Vivien could only be viewed through the prism of the men in her life. It's a disservice to her as an individual, and an opportunity for Walker to w [...]

    7. There has always been that something about Vivien Leigh, and I was looking forward to reading this bio. It started out lyrical and good, and then just turned into a monotone of bland and fairly sad. I know her life was plagued by bipolar and episodes relating to, but this bio just made it seem all the more sad and hopless.I like downer books (ala Henry Rollins) but this one just left me feeling uninspired and annoyed.Ah well.Her life was terbulant and exciting and routine and sad. I want to watc [...]

    8. I've been fascinated by Vivien Leigh since my first glimpse of her as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Her life, with its ups and downs, was every bit as fascinating as her role in that legendary movie. I'm so glad I've learned more about her by reading this, but I would have preferred a faster paced writing style in this particular book. The detail, including dates and eye-witnesses, was very well done and the visual imaginary created a clear picture of her in my mind. The photos selected [...]

    9. God! This biography made me so sad. Here was a woman who had seemingly had every thing: beauty, class and undeniable talent and yet mental illness robbed her of so much including a life with the man she loved. This book was painstakingly researched and hauntingly beautiful. One of the best biographies on a film actress I have ever read. This book does so much to explore the woman behind the legend and really give us, the reader a terrifying and painful look at a woman in pain.

    10. she called sir laurence olivier, larry. i liked that. also she played a game as a child that i play with my own children in hopes of making them completely neurotici mean "smart."

    11. "Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh" by Alexander Walker is a comprehensive biography of one of the stage and screen's greatest actresses. The book is divided into three sections based on the three prominent men in her life (her first husband, Leigh Holman, the great love of her life, fellow actor Laurence Oliver, and Jack Merivale, who was a source of comfort to her in her final years.) This division does a disservice to Leigh by implying that she was defined only by the men in her life, which wa [...]

    12. "Vivien had a duality in her nature, as marked as the break in the body of a rockwardly there was chaos".Vivien Leigh died July 7, 1967 at the age of fifty three. She had been diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1945; a disease that had been all but eradicated. The love of her life was Laurence Olivier. They divorced in 1960 after two decades together. Jack Merivale would be the last love in her life. He supported her through some of the worst episodes of mania and depression in her last years. She e [...]

    13. Lovingly detailed story of the life of Vivien from her early days in England, becoming a major star and winning the two greatest female roles in cinema history, and continuing through her battles against bi-polar disorder.Walker has crafted a biography rich in detail and quotes his sources in an appendix.A heartbreaking story but as previously stated, this is the most impressive Vivien bio that we have (and I think I have read them all).Highly recommended for those wanting the true story behind [...]

    14. Several others have commented on how uninspired this biography is, and I agree. It's bloodless, and focuses on Vivien's career, rather than her humanity. Walker leaves out the funny, strange quotes and anecdotes that made Vivien so witty and unique. Perhaps because of when it was written, Olivier's rumored bisexuality was also glossed over. I wonder how life would have been for 'the Oliviers' if they were stars today. Perhaps Olivier would be out of the closest, and Vivien wouldn't have had to c [...]

    15. From the beginning this biography read more like a novel. Vivien was a larger than life character rather then an actual flesh and blood woman. Beauty, determination and grace with a mad energy and dark underbelly. For such a short life Vivien lived it like the dramatic characters she often played on stage and screen. For those who said she was an unaccomplished actress who simply fed off her beauty and fame watch 'A street car named desire'! Also she was too often compared to her actor husband L [...]

    16. I was (candidly) looking for a book more comprised of sordid details, but that was my only minor complaint with this engrossing book. Walker treats Vivien with the utmost reverence, by being truthful about her flaws and almost lovingly framing her as an exciting, amiable, but tragic woman. Walker acts as a researcher, a psychologist, and even a friend in providing a comprehensive study of Vivien Leigh supported by documents, interviews, personal anecdotes from Vivien, and a true admiration for t [...]

    17. Since a new unauthorized bio is coming out on her next month I had to read the favorable one first. If this bio is accurate she was more than just the brilliant actress behind Scarlett O'Hara, but a very generous and caring person. What made her all the more human to me, and even more of a fan was her love of cats. Apparently she was always taking in strays. She was very much a consummate professional - always looking to improve herself as an actress. So sad she died so young at 53.

    18. I loved this book as it allowed more than a glimpse into the starlit's life. I remember watching "Gone With The Wind", as a young girl and being completely captivated by Scarlette's beauty and strength. While reading this book you are given access to a behind the scenes look of a life of a beautiful actress and her real life battles. This book me feel for Vivien Leigh, for the battles she fought, the talent that she was, and the life that could have been.

    19. I enjoyed this biography of Vivien Leigh. I thought the author did a good job of describing her life including her bouts of manic-depression and tuberculosis, as well as her two marriages and other relationships. I was also impressed by her tenacity in getting the roles she really wanted to play (i.e. Scarlett O'Hara and Blanche DuBois).

    20. A very good and intelligent story, but I never felt the accounts in the book really matched the excerpts of " her tragic and troubled life". Certainly a good read, but it did leave a lot of questions unanswered. I was actually more interested in reading more about Katherine Hepburn from the very brief mentions in the book.

    21. Interesting read on one of the most beautiful actresses of the golden era of Hollywood. This book is based upon remembrances of the many people who knew, loved, and worked with Ms. Leigh. Highly informative, and a glimpse into the mental illness that troubled her throughout her life. A good read.

    22. Vivien Lee was such a talented actress but she also had major problems in her life. She was not mentally balance well and she took medications for that. She was married but had a hard time sustaining marriage. She was happy in her later years when she had grandchildren.

    23. I learned a lot of stuff about Viv that I wished I didn't know. Mostly that she cheated on her husband and wasn't always there for her daughter. But people aren't perfect and it is fascinating to read into lives. People are just interesting. I love biographies.

    24. It was a great book, very enlightening. I didn't know much about her other than Scarlett in gone with the Wind. She had a very interesting life, mainly in theater. I was surprised that she was so young, only 53 when she died of TB.

    25. This was a very well written and in depth biography of a woman about whom I knew very little when I began reading. Interesting depiction of bipolar disorder from a time before it was a well known mental illness.

    26. I actually liked this book quite a bit. I would have given it more stars, but the style of writing was kind of difficult for me to get into. Other than that, a very interesting and informative book about Vivien Leigh.

    27. okay she was crazy. This was a pretty depressing story, I'm sure if Leigh was live today she'd be one of those stars in and out of rehab and hounded by the press. It is heartening to read how her friends stood by her and tried to protect her, but were ultimately unable to help her.

    28. Well written for a Biography. It read more like an entertaining story than like a history of Vivien Leigh's life. Though it is from one man's perspective, it allowed for a deeper understanding and appreciation of Vivien and her career.

    29. very much enjoyed this book but its the only book i have read so far on vivien leigh so i have no other comparisons. I found this book easy to read. Although some things are described vagualy, its still a good book.

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