Billie Whitelaw: Who He?: An Autobiography

Billie Whitelaw, Author, Billie Whitelaw, Performed by
Billie Whitelaw, Author, Billie Whitelaw, Performed by St. Martin's Press $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-13929-2
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British actress Whitelaw, born in Coventry in 1932, tells harrowing stories of surviving the Nazi blitz. In hopes of finding a cure for her stuttering, she became a radio actress and went on to join Joan Littlewood's acting group, eventually ending up working for Sir Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre. This outspoken, at times sentimental and heartrending memoir goes on to discuss the great names of the British acting community from the 1950s through the '90s--from Alfred Hitchcock to Albert Finney to Kenneth Tynan--but concentrates on Whitelaw's work with Irish writer Samuel Beckett. Starting with Play in 1963, she would work with Beckett until his death in 1989. In later years she would also star in Beckett's Not I, Footfalls, Happy Days and Rockaby, which the playwright wrote especially for her. She also bares her soul about her personal life: her two marriages, the birth of her son and the trauma of almost losing him to meningitis. Because she worked so closely with Beckett, who also directed her in several of his plays, this is an invaluable guide for the Beckett actor or director. (May)
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