"No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, one whose career spans six decades. From her days as a star of W... Full description
"No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, one whose career spans six decades. From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie would cross paths with those of the greatest actors, playwrights, and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton (by his own admission), answering back to Laurence Olivier, or impressing Ingmar Bergman, she built a career that can be seen as a 'Who's Who' of British theatre in the twentieth century. This book also covers her success in Hollywood, inaugurated by her first Oscar for her signature film, The prime of Miss Jean Brodie, as well as her subsequent departure to Canada for a prolific four-season run of leading theatre roles. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess, in the phenomenally successful television series Downton Abbey, and as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter film franchise; what she herself describes as "Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat." Yet paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Michael Coveney's absorbing biography drawing on personal archives, interviews, and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, is therefore as close as it gets to seeing the real Maggie Smith."--Book jacket.
xi, 353 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Michael Coveney was born on July 24, 1948 in England. He was educated at St. Ignatius College, Stanford Hill and Worcester College, Oxford. After graduation, he worked as a script reader for the Royal Court Theatre and from 1972 he contributed theatre reviews to the Financial Times. He was deputy editor (1973 - 75) and editor (1975-78) of Plays and Players magazine and theatre critic and deputy arts editor of the Financial Times throughout the 1980s.
He was theatre critic for The Observer from 1990 until he joined the Daily Mail in 1997, following the death of Jack Tinker. He remained at the Daily Mail until 2004. He is Chief Critic of the leading theatre website WhatsOnStage.com. He is the author of The Citz, a history of the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre 1990 and Maggie Smith: A Bright Particular Star, 1993.
He has also published a biography of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and a revised edition of his biography of Maggie Smith will be published in 2015.