Every actor should be so lucky to have their life written about by Kendra Bean and Claire Bloom like actress Vivien Leigh. This book was formatted more like a coffee table book than a standard biography, but I just loved it! It was filled with so many photos of Vivien that I was eager to turn each page. Those pictures absolutely brought her story to life.
My only complaint was that the wording was arranged in two columns as opposed to regular paragraphs, but as far as the content, I was very pleased with how the authors presented her. The authors put together her personal history and professional achievements in a way that easily gave a view of her entire life. Since Vivien married Lawrence Olivier early on, much of the novel naturally included him and his influence on her acting. At times, this almost seemed like a joint biography of them as a couple.
Vivien was presented as a devoted actress who quickly sacrificed beauty or imperfection if it would help her achieve the perfect role. She was kind to the cast and crew, and appeared to go out of her way to be polite to others. Her determination as a person and actor was best described with her focus on landing the most coveted role in Hollywood in the late 1930’s, that of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. It was hard to read about her mental illness at a time when electroshock was deemed an acceptable treatment. I can’t even imagine the intense torture she was subjected to in the name of medicine.
Vivien was a true Hollywood star. She was respected for her acting and earned two Oscar awards and a Tony Award. I just loved this biography and wish there was a similar one for all my favorite stars!