Maggie Smith

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781474600248

Price: £10.99

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‘Coveney is the only writer who could get under Smith’s skin, capturing her steeliness and vulnerability’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie’s path has led to international renown and numerous accolades including two Academy Awards. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham in DOWNTON ABBEY, as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the HARRY POTTER movie franchise and as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in the film version of THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett.

Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, Michael Coveney’s biography is a captivating portrait of the real Maggie Smith.

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[A] solid and admiring portrait of a beloved actor's craft and career
Patricia Nicol, INDEPENDENT
A satisfying read ... [P]leasantly gossipy and a very valuable addition to the history of British theatre
As [Michael] Coveney portrays her in this informative, well-crafted biography, Smith brings to her role as Dowager Countess [in Downton Abbey] the acerbic wit, sly irreverence, and masterly technique that has served her throughout her long career. Steeped in theatre history, and with full cooperation from Smith; her husband, actor Beverley Cross; family and colleagues, including her close friend Judi Dench, Coveney seamlessly melds Smith's personal and professional lives into an engrossing narrative ... An authoritative and perceptive portrait
Coveney enticingly lists and quotes from her most remarkable roles, and forbears to intrude on Smith's determinedly private life. Hers is a fascinating story, a true swan hatched from the unlikely nest of a dour Methodist accountant mother and a lab technician father who moved to Oxford during the war.
Christina Hardyment, THE TIMES
From early days in the theatre to Miss Jean Brodie and Downton's formidable Dowager, Maggie Smith has endeared herself to millions. This engaging and fascinating biography reveals the life and career of one of our finest actresses
Michael Coveney isn't afraid to elucidate on her reputation for being difficult, but there's much more here, from a revelatory Hedda Gabler to The Lady In The Van. Coveney is the only writer who could get under Smith's skin, capturing her steeliness and vulnerability
Christopher Fowler, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, Cinema Books of the Year
Michael Coveney's affectionate [biography] provides the best account we are likely to get of this reserved grand dame, who surely stands alone in having her 'witty' elbows and wrists so often singled out for praise
EVENING STANDARD, Books of the Year
Coveney has written a magnificent book that beautifully illuminates the talent and the irreducible personality of a great artist
The conundrum of what Smith does haunts Coveney's Maggie Smith: A Biography, on a brilliant journey from Shakespeare's Viola to J.K. Rowling's Professor McGonagall. Coveney's admiration is never in doubt, being of a rare critical type that cares for the actor's craft with infectious enthusiasm
[A] revealing biography of the sublime life and loves of Maggie Smith
Wonderful insight into the life of a wonderful actress - READERS' CHOICE FOR BEST MEMOIR OF THE YEAR
Dame Maggie Smith - now 81 - is a national treasure, her unforgettable asperity a delight in every role ... [Coveney's] knowledgeable, elegant biography examines the qualities of the woman in the spotlight ... But he also gently probes Smith's closely guarded privacy, with revealing anecdotes from friends, fellow thespians and Smith's sons, the actors Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens
Jane Shilling, DAILY MAIL