John Gielgud's long and distinguished career in the theatre forever changed our interpretation of the classical repertoire, and marked him out as one of the finest and most influential actors of all time. This authoritative and comprehensive biography is the definitive account of his life and glittering stage career on both sides of the Atlantic: in Shakespeare and other classics; in plays by contemporary dramatists such as Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, David Storey, Edward Bond and Alan Bennett; and in seventy films, including his Academy Award-winning role in Arthur. Like other gay men of his time, Gielgud had to lead a double life outside the theatre. The book throws fresh light on his arrest for "importuning male persons for immoral purposes" in a public lavatory and its aftermath, a traumatic event that nearly ended his career. It also illuminates his complex relationship with his great rival Laurence Olivier. The author's research includes more than one hundred new interviews with key people from his life and career such as Kenneth Branagh, Joan Plowright, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Simon Callow and Eileen Atkins, and forty film and television directors, including Scott Hicks, Jane Campion, Hugh Hudson and Joseph Strick. It also draws on a large number of revealing, previously unpublished letters. Jonathan Croall's intimate biography is a unique in-depth look at a legend, known for his acting brilliance, his unforgettable voice, and his enormous contribution, both as actor and director, to theater and the performing arts [Publisher description].