In his lifetime Gielgud was acclaimed as the finest classical actor of the twentieth century and Jonathan Croall’s biography from 2000 was instantly recognised by critics as a masterful achievement, one that was ‘unlikely to be surpassed’ (Sunday Telegraph). Since that time however a considerable amount of new material has come to light and the passing of time has allowed a new candour. John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star sees this peerless biographer return to his subject to offer the definitive life of Gielgud.
For this new biography Croall’s exhaustive research has included over a hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career, several hundred letters from Gielgud that have never been published, scores of letters written to him and archived versions of his film and television work. As Gielgud worked increasingly in this medium during the last third of his life much greater attention is given to this than in the earlier work.
Fresh light is thrown on his professional relationships with figures such as Laurence Olivier and Edith Evans, and on turbulent episodes of his private life. The overall result is a a much more rounded, candid and richly textured portrait of this celebrated and complex actor.