From the inside flap: In this long-awaited autobiography, Laurence Olivier describes his eventful public and private life as only he can. The most admired and daring performer of his age, Olivier is naturally best remembered for his great classic roles at the Old Vic, and for his magnificent Shakespearean films Henry V, Hamlet and Richard III, but it was with Rebecca and Wuthering Heights that he also became an international film star of the first rank-a position he has constantly reaffirmed in contemporary roles, from Archie Rice in The Entertainer to Lord Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited. In farce, melodrama and comedy, too, his mercurial brilliance has been recognizable behind an astonishing variety of disguises. His preeminence and commanding presence have made him the foremost actor of our day. Yet, while his autobiography is a compelling and wonderfully illuminating account of a unique and triumphant professional life, full of deep insights and wonderful show business anecdotes about Olivier's many decades of work in the theater and films, it is also a profoundly moving and passionately personal account of his own emotional life-his childhood; his first marriage, to Jill Esmond; the tempestuous relationship with Vivien Leigh; and his deeply fulfilling marriage to Joan Plowright. Advance reviewers have hailed the book for its "startlingly frank revelations"-particularly the details of the long stormy love affair and marriage of Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Seldom has any great figure of the theater written with such passion, affection, candor and wit about his countless friends and colleagues. Most of his close relationships have grown from his work. He first met his lifelong friends Ralph Richardson and Noel Coward at rehearsals more than fifty years ago. He recalls, too, all the great stars of stage and screen he has known, including the Lunts, Edith Evans, John Gielgud, Charlie Chaplin, Garbo, Danny Kaye, John Mills, Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock. With insight and humor, Olivier retells the story of his glittering sixty-year career-as an actor, as a filmmaker whose revolutionary innovations in motion picture technique have made Shakespeare a living experience for countless moviegoers, as a director and producer whose stewardship of the National Theatre of England renewed a noble tradition and introduced some of the greatest modern masterpieces into the English repertoire. Confessions of an Actor is the story of a life that has combined the heights of artistic endeavor with the rivalry and glamour of show business in a way that is unique. No other classical actor has been such a dazzling star. No other star has been such a magnificent actor. His memoirs are filled with "an unabashed self-delight that remains undimmed at 75."