Yul Brynner: The Inscrutable King

Jhan Robbins, Author
Jhan Robbins, Author Dodd Mead $16.95 (212p) ISBN 978-0-396-08675-8
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
When Brynner died in 1985, the actor of Swiss-Russian parentage, born sometime between 1915 and 1920, had a reputation for fanciful boasting about his background. He once told the author that he was a descendant of Ghengis Khan, and many other colorfuland often conflictingtales circulated about his life in Europe before he came to America in 1940. Robbins (Bess and Harry, etc.) found, however, that the truth was just as intriguing as Brynner's yarns. Before his star-making role as the arrogant King Mongkut of The King and I, Brynner distinguished himself as a TV director and as a Broadway performer. As king to Gertrude Lawrence's Anna, he won the 1951 Tony for best actor in a musical; he later received an Oscar for his work in the movie version. There were more films, most very bad, before he began his enormously successful revival of the one and only king on an international tour in 1977 and for a final series of performances on Broadway in 1985, until two months before his death. A generous man in and out of the theater, Brynner was a consultant to the UN High Command for Refugees. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
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