Maggie Smith

No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith Michael Coveney s biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggie s path would cross with those of the greatest actors, pNo one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith Michael Coveney s biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer, one whose stage and screen career spans six decades From her days as a West End star of comedy and revue, Dame Maggie s path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era Whether stealing scenes from Richard Burton, answering back to Laurence Olivier, or playing opposite Judi Dench in Breath of Life, her career can be seen as a Who s Who of British theatre Her film and television career has been just as starry From the title character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the meddling chaperone in A Room With a View to the Harry Potter films in which she played Minerva McGonagall as she put it Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard s hat and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films in which she played the wise Muriel Donnelly, Smith has thrilled, engaged and made audiences laugh As Violet Crawley, the formidable Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey she conquered millions Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public Michael Coveney s absorbing biography, written with the actress s blessing and drawing on personal archives, as well as interviews with immediate family and close friends, is a portrait of one of the greatest actors of our time.
Maggie Smith No one does glamour severity girlish charm or tight lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith Michael Coveney s biography shines a light on the life and career of a truly remarkable performer

  • Title: Maggie Smith
  • Author: Michael Coveney
  • ISBN: 9781250081483
  • Page: 305
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Maggie Smith”

    1. bbc/programmes/b068td6zDescription: No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage-lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, whose career spans six decades.From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Bur [...]

    2. If readers want more of a performance or theatrical review, this biography of Maggie Smith's is very thorough in covering Maggie's work. In fact, the book is mostly about Maggie's acting career: Details and more details about the play or movie or other professional work, including other actors and their comments, and delving into particular scenes and how they are acted. I found it to be quite dull - the author expresses that Maggie has a personality, but it isn't brought to life here, though th [...]

    3. From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:No one does glamour, severity, girlish charm or tight-lipped witticism better than Dame Maggie Smith, one of Britain's best-loved actors. This new biography shines the stage-lights on the life and work of a truly remarkable performer, whose career spans six decades.From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path would cross with those of the greatest actors, playwrights and directors of the era. Whether stealing scenes from Richard Bur [...]

    4. I'm a huge Maggie Smith fan and heard how wonderful this biography was to read. Newsflash: this is so boring, I would rather wallpaper our whole house before reading it again. Dry, boring and not very insightful. Skip it.My Review: 2 stars

    5. I love Maggie Smith, but unfortunately this book was beyond dull. It read like a very long resume with almost no details about her personal life. This may be because she is a very private person who is loathe to discuss herself, but I can't help feeling that her life's accomplishments, set in a different author's hands, would have been much more entertaining to read. Skip this book and go watch some of her excellent performances on stage or screen instead. Her brilliance speaks for itself. :)

    6. I've finished it. I found myself alternating between being confused, occasionally fascinated, bored, and at times just determined to keep going because of the subject.Maggie Smith is an actress I have enjoyed watching in any production I have seen her in, and in that regard it was fascinating to be introduced to her huge body of work both one stage and in film. I am a late in her career admirer because I never saw her in earlier productions nor had the opportunity to see her in action on stage.B [...]

    7. For someone who's been on the world stage since the late 1950's, we know surprisingly little about the marvelous actress, Maggie Smith, most recently of Downton Abbey and The Lady In The Van fame. It was only recently I discovered that the actor, Toby Stephens, who plays in the TV series, Black Sails, is her son by actor Robert Stephens (they divorced in 1975 after an eight-year marriage). This lack of information is fairly deliberate on her part. She rarely does television or print interviews o [...]

    8. I picked up this book becasue I love Maggie Smtih. She has been on the stage and screen for for 60 years and with no plastic surgery. She has played opposite all the famous British stars. I have not seen in many things. But i lived her in the Best Exoctic Marigold Hotel. She plays kind of a sarcastic grump eith a big heart. It is a long book so I only mentioned a few things.

    9. If you are looking for insight into the inimitable Maggie's personal life, you have come to the wrong place. However, as an overview of the professional life and remarkable achievements of an equally remarkable lady, this book will fill all the chinks in your personal Maggie Smith encyclopedia.

    10. I love Maggie Smith as so I was very excited to start reading her biography. However, I agree with the other reviews on here - it was hard going, pretty dull and just a list of all the plays and films she was in. There was no insight of Maggie Smith in there at at all - her dry whit and sense of humour was no where to be found! Very disappointing and would not recommend.

    11. Skip it unless you like an analysis of acting. I was not planning to read this book (I guess it was more of a: "someday book") but I had heard some really funny audiobook excerpts. Then I spotted it for cheap on Book Outlet and thought, hey, why not? The book purports to be a biography of Dame Maggie Smith. The Dowager Countess, Professor McGonagall, etc. I probably really noticed her via 'Harry Potter' but realized I had seen her in a bunch of other movies and what not too. She's known to be r [...]

    12. It’s rather ironic and a bit sad that I would dislike any biography of Maggie Smith, because I admire her acting so much. In my opinion, her ability to portray nuances of a character with slightest of eye or body movements or intone humor and irony in the simplest of lines is unsurpassed by any actor living or dead. The breadth of her work is impressive. She seems like a proper—but fun—British lady with sensibilities from a grander era of theater. And yet, her biography bored me. How can t [...]

    13. Apparently Smith authorized the biography but gave Coveney very few interviews but did allow him access to family, friends and colleagues. Smith appears to be very reclusive. There is not much information on Smith’s private life; the book is all about her professional life.Smith was born in 1934 to a working class family. Her mother told her she would never become an actress “with a face like that” She was in plays in high school and in her late teens started to work in the repertory Engli [...]

    14. I received a free copy of this book through First Reads in exchange for a review.For those who have been following Maggie Smith since the early days of her career, this books will help you reminisce. For those readers interested in Maggie Smith following catching her in Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, or the Marigold Hotel series might have a much harder time. This book does cover Maggie Smith's life from the beginning through to her receiving the title of Companion of Honor on October 17,2014. Ho [...]

    15. This biography, written by a theater critic, assumes an extensive background knowledge of plays, movies and English actors. The narrative is a detailed account of every play, movie and television show Maggie Smith has appeared in--the plot summary, cast of characters and the actors who portrayed every part, and the critical reaction, including the author's own, to Maggie's performance. There is very little about Maggie Smith, the person, in these pages, and I could have learned just as much abou [...]

    16. Theater critic Michael Coveney has written a biography of Maggie Smith's career -- every play and movie she's been in, in chronological order. If there isn't as much of Maggie Smith's personal life and her own thoughts on the roles and the people she worked with, it's only because Smith is notoriously private and there aren't a lot of TV interviews and gossip to draw on. That's not to say the book is a dry list of her work --- there are plenty of people who were willing to talk about working wit [...]

    17. I was disappointed with this book. I was hoping to read the story of her life. I understand she is quite a private person, so perhaps getting that story is pretty hard, but this book was more of a detailed/expanded resume more than anything with a lot of listing of names of people who were in various productions with her. I would have rather had more stories about things that took place while she was working on these various projects. I read the first couple of chapters, as well as the chapter a [...]

    18. Did I read this book, yes. Did I read every word Why? Because the author writes long-winded sentences that are so complicated that it is often quite difficult to read them. Which is unfortunate as I do like Maggie Smith quite a lot. She is not directly interviewed in this biography, though the author does quite a good amount on research which adds a star to the rating. Despite that, a lot of the chapters retell the plots of the plays and movies that Ms. Smith starred in. There are tidbits into h [...]

    19. An interesting read but a bit dry and 'just the facts ma'am!' which was disappointing given her wonderful character. However it was a biography and she is renowned for her desire for privacy and so would have been hard for a biographer to get too 'touchy feely'. I would love to read her auto-biography should she ever write one!

    20. Words, words, words. My suspicion is that Mr. Coveney did not have enough for a real biography (it's pretty clear that Dame Maggie did not cooperate), so he filled this book with plot outlines and his personal reviews of every single play and movie he could get his hands on (and she's done a lot!) Tedious in the extreme.

    21. This is actually a great biography, it's just sort of dry, hence the two stars. But if you're into the history of Britain's theatre greats you're probably going to love it. Unfortunately, I am not that really into theatre so there's great sections of this book, that while sort of interesting, have no point of reference for me. However there is a lot of information packed in and enough tidbits about other acting greats that means the writing never feels stale. The coverage of Maggie's life is tho [...]

    22. I really wanted to enjoy the book Maggie Smith by Michael Coveney. I respect her work and really wanted to enjoy the book. I was most disappointed. There is so little about her actual life. Instead, the book is an exhaustive review of every play, every movie, and every production she was in. The book went from dull to boring to dismal. There is too little about Maggie Smith herself in this book. I respect the fact that she is a very private person. But even private people have stories about thei [...]

    23. I think the first time I knew of Maggie Smith was when the movie, "Sister Act" came out. Unbeknown to me at the time though was that we'd seen her in another way before that film - it was when she starred opposite Mia Farrow, Bette Davis amongst many other big stars in Agatha Christie's "Death On The Nile" - in that she was only young. Then of course we all surely must know her from the Harry Potter film franchise and the absolute brilliance that was TV's "Downton Abbey".It cannot be said that D [...]

    24. Am a big fan of Maggie Smith hence the 3 stars. Book is long, dry CV of her work with lots of insider references to people, places and events that only someone with a history in the British theatre/film community can appreciate. I get that she's a very private person and maybe this book needed to be written for the record but it offers little insight to her as a person and is quite a slog to get through. Required reading if you want to know about her accomplishments but a marathon of her films w [...]

    25. Unless you are a theatre aficionado of the UK from the 1950s-today, this book seems more than an endless list of plays and actors you have never heard of. The bits and pieces about Maggie Smith and her life (what drives her etc.; mainly in the beginning and at the end) are quite interesting. The underlying problem seems to be the fact that Dame Maggie is very private and quite reclusive. Thus, most of the content seems to be deducted from what she did and a few one-liners reported by third parti [...]

    26. A laborious recounting of every play, every movie, every TV performance she has ever done, complete with reviews and cast comments. I give the author credit for exhaustive research, but after 150 pages, I was exhausted and completely adrift in a barrage of British notables and British Shakespearian icons. With very little familiar territory to explore, the book made me feel like a stranger in a strange land.

    27. The author had written a bio years ago but this new version is him going back and giving credit for more of her work in the last 20 years. Downton Abbey and Harry Potter both get a nod and some fun comments. It really was a nice homage to his subject. I just wish it had some more pictures of her stage work as much of that is lost to time since they were never filmed. I know I saw Lettice and Lovage on PBS as a teen and loved it. If you are a fan of her work this is well worth the read.

    28. As I love Maggie Smith and have enjoyed several of her performances I was looking forward to this book. What a disappointment. This biography, which relays little information about Smith, focuses on the roles Smith played and those actors she performed with throughout the course of her career. This book reads like a list of Smith's roles.

    29. Listened to audio book don't think I would have gotten through it if i was reading it. I don't care about a review of a play in London from 50 years ago. I wanted to give it 3 stars because I really like Maggie Smith but just couldn't. There is very little personal information except to say she is private.

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