A Damned Serious Business

Rex Harrison, Author Bantam Books $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07341-6
In this chatty, anecdotal look back at his career, the actor best-known for his portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins in the stage and film versions of My Fair Lady touches on personal aspects of his life only if they had an effect on his work, such as the poor career choices he made in an effort to keep busy after the death of Kay Kendall, his third wife. A devoted fan of Shaw and the naturalistic school of acting, Harrison, who died this past June at the age of 82, derides Method, which he calls ``the scratch and grunt school of acting,'' and notes that his major roles have all been of ``self-centered types.'' Many of his stories make the reader laugh aloud, such as his disastrous attempt at Shakespeare, the filming of Dr. Doolittle (``The animals behaved well in almost all respects. It was the animal trainers who should have been shot'') and the joy of working on My Fair Lady (``I began to discover that putting a musical together is riveting''), particularly as he developed the ``sing/speak'' style of singing that marked the role of Higgins. Harrison's enthusiasm and wry observations make this an endearing commentary on acting in general and his career in particular. Photos not seen by PW . (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Hardcover - 342 pages - 978-1-85089-586-2
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