By turns hilarious, revelatory and desperately sad, here is the autobiography of the man whose TV and stage appearances such as Hello Dolly!, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em and The Phantom of the Opera have made him a national institution. The story of the true identity of his father, which is behind this book's title, leads into an evocative depiction of his tender childhood years. Whilst all the men were away at war, Crawford was surrounded by loving women. For him this was an idyllic wartime childhood, but the return of the men in peacetime signalled darker times to come. Crawford's infectious enjoyment of stage work illumines his account of his early struggles to make a name for himself in the theatre business, and his early failures with girls are lifted by his abiding sense of the absurd. Both in his private life and his work as a successful actor and TV comedian, he begins a lifetime's habit of pratfalls that he would later turn to good use in the character of Frank Spencer in smash hit 1970s TV comedy show Some Mothers Do'Ave 'Em.
His talent for mimicry makes the great personalities in his life come alive on the page; people he has worked with, including Benjamin Britten who taught him to sing, John Lennon - with whom he shared a villa - and Oliver Reed, Michael Winner, Barbra Steisand, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
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(178mm x 111mm x 28mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
Like Noel Coward, Crawford has a talent to amuse - though in the performing rather than creative sense. Add to this warm, wide, friendly smile, a good voice and the skill (acquired by determination and considerable courage) to execute his own hazardous stunts, and you have a unique all-round theatrical performer - one obviously destined for fame. It was to be a journey that would carry the unknown lad from Kent's Isle of Sheppey (on the very edge of England, where it meets the North Sea) by way of television's 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave' Em' to the starriest theatres of London and America, as the athletic lead-player in 'Barnum', and virtuoso of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's record-breaking 'Phantom of the Opera'. It wasn't of course all smooth sailing, and inevitably the very demanding roles, and the adulation they brought, exacted their toll. While the crowds roared their approval and adoration, cracks began to appear in Crawford's happy family life. It was a hardprice to pay, and behind the public popularity it isn't difficult to guess at a core of well-disguised loneliness. A not unusual theatrical story - of highs and lows, disappointments, triumphs, emotional mistakes and thespian togetherness; but told here by the man himself with ingenuous charm, honesty, gratitude to all those who helped, and taught him his craft - and a kind of awe at his incredible luck. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Michael Crawford
Crawford began his professional career as a boy soprano in Benjamin Britten's Let's Make An Opera. He became the popular star of Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life and starred in The Knack. He juggled film and stage careers, appearances including Hello Dolly!, the long-running comedy No Sex Please - We're British and the 70s TV comedy Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - which is still running around the world. He starred in, among many other things, the John Barry hit musical Billy, the 1981 hit Broadway musical Barnum and the widely acclaimed Phantom of the Opera. More recently, he appeared in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White in London's West End. His solo recording career began in 1992 and his three albums have all been huge runaway successes earning him gold and platinum discs. He has been awarded many honours including the OBE.