NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
A New York Times Bestseller
"A "well rounded and entertaining" (New York Times) Hollywood biography about the passionate, turbulent marriage of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
In 1934, a friend brought fledgling actress Vivien Leigh to see Theatre Royal, where she would first lay eyes on Laurence Olivier in his brilliant performance as Anthony Cavendish. That night, she confided to a friend, he was the man she was going to marry. There was just one problem: she was already married—and so was he.
TRULY, MADLY is the biography of a marriage, a love affair that still captivates millions, even decades after both actors' deaths. Vivien and Larry were two of the first truly global celebrities – their fame fueled by the explosive growth of tabloids and television, which helped and hurt them in equal measure. They seemed to have it all and yet, in their own minds, they were doomed, blighted by her long-undiagnosed mental-illness, which transformed their relationship from the stuff of dreams into a living nightmare.
Through new research, including exclusive access to previously unpublished correspondence and interviews with their friends and family, author Stephen Galloway takes readers on a bewitching journey. He brilliantly studies their tempestuous liaison, one that took place against the backdrop of two world wars, the Golden Age of Hollywood and the upheavals of the 1960s — as they struggled with love, loss and the ultimate agony of their parting.
Galloway (Leading Lady), former executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter, offers a richly detailed account of the fiery ascent and demise of one of Hollywood's most glamorous couples. While starring in 1937's Fire over England, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier—both married at the time—became enmeshed in a passionate affair. "Each moment they weren't working," Galloway writes, "they would sneak off, find a private space where they could talk, laugh and touch." After a break from filming 21 Days, the two ran away together and, a few years later, married in 1940. Weaving in uncovered correspondence and interviews with family and friends, Galloway delivers a taut narrative, charting the couple's rise to stardom on stage and screen—notably Leigh's performance as Scarlett O'Hara in 1939's Gone with the Wind and Olivier's starring role in 1944's Henry V. But as the author unveils, Leigh's shifting moods and, later, manic episodes and depression became the "slow drip of pain" that eventually led to the couple's divorce in 1960. Galloway's reporting is immersive and intimate, and studded with vivid recollections—including one from actor Hayley Mills of a "dressed-up evening" the couple hosted where guests were "stark naked, except wearing a tie." It's a riveting story brought to life by the outsized passion that entangled them and later tore them apart. This page-turning biography is one to get swept up in.
Misogyny at its worst
I can’t believe that this was even published.