Notes on a Cowardly Lion
The Biography of Bert Lahr
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A son’s funny, frank, and “endlessly fascinating” memoir of his father, Wizard of Oz star Bert Lahr (Harper’s Magazine).
Bert Lahr, best known for his role as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, made audiences laugh from burlesque stages to vaudeville to Broadway—and impressed them as Estragon in the American theater debut of Waiting for Godot. But reality wasn’t always funny for the legendary actor and comedian, or his family.
Drawing on personal recollections and the memories of his father’s colleagues, a veteran writer for the New Yorker and renowned theater critic brilliantly explores both the long and glorious professional career of a Hollywood icon and the experience of growing up with him. Here, in rich detail, is Bert Lahr evolving from a low-comic star to a Ziegfeld Follies sophisticate, hamming it up with the Scarecrow and Tin Man on the set of TheWizard of Oz, and garnering rich praise as he performed in Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece. But while Lahr could be equally raucous and polished in public, in private he was painfully insecure and self-absorbed, keeping his family at arm’s length as he quietly battled his inner demons. “A work of literature, a work of history, a subtle psychological study,” Notes on a Cowardly Lion is more than one man’s quest to understand his father. It is an extraordinary examination of a life on the stage and screen (Harper’s Magazine).
From a writer with an intimate knowledge of the theater and show business world, this is both a “frank and objective” (The New York Times Book Review) family memoir that will appeal to readers of Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking or Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son, and a “book-length love letter. To open it is to enter a life, to participate in a sensibility and, perhaps most important, to laugh. Uproariously” (Life).
“John Lahr is frank and objective about his father. . . . The past becomes present in this biography, so that we come to know and understand the actor as clearly as the man.” —The New York Times Book Review “Endlessly fascinating, excellent . . . A work of literature, a work of history, a subtle psychological study.” —Harper’s Magazine
John Lahr (b. 1941) is an acclaimed author. He was the senior drama critic at the New Yorker for twenty years. He has twice received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and was the first critic to win a Tony Award, for co-authoring Elaine Stritch at Liberty. The author of eighteen books, ranging from fiction to biography, Lahr is best known forNotes on a Cowardly Lion: The Biography of Bert Lahr (1969) and Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton (1978), which was made into a film. He lives in London.
- Category: Biographies & Memoirs
- Published: Jan 22, 2013
- Publisher: Open Road Media
- Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC
- Print Length: 394 Pages
- Language: English