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Interest-specific online venues will often provide a book buying opportunity. Click here for a list of interest-specific sites grouped by category. If you are located outside the U. Regarded as the best radio and TV comic of his era, Tony Hancock was a man whose star burned brightly in the eyes and ears of millions before his untimely death in Now, forty years on, critically acclaimed biographer John Fisher brings the first fully authorised account of his life. His peerless timing and subtle changes in intonation marked Hancock out as a comic genius.
The show was commisioned for TV, showcasing his talent for hilarious facial expression, and he became the first British comedian to earn a thousand pounds a week. Prone to self-doubt, and wanting to be the star of his own show, he got rid of James, and finally dismissed Galton and Simpson who had created the platform for his success.
His private life was wracked by his ever increasing alcoholism and bouts of depression, and his relationships shattered by his capacity for violence. His ratings fell and, feeling washed up and alone after divorcing his second wife, he committed suicide in an Australian hotel room in Now, forty years after his death John Fisher explores the turbulent life of a man regarded by his peers as one of the greatest British comics to have ever lived.
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Tony Hancock: The Definitive Biography - John Fisher - Google Книги
The Definitive Biography by John Fisher We'd love you to buy this book, and hope you find this page convenient in locating a place of purchase. Specialty Booksellers Interest-specific online venues will often provide a book buying opportunity. International Customers If you are located outside the U. About Product Details Regarded as the best radio and TV comic of his era, Tony Hancock was a man whose star burned brightly in the eyes and ears of millions before his untimely death in Born into It by Jay Baruchel.
Hindsight by Justin Timberlake. His father died; he was sent to public school and walked out at the age of 14, then tried to follow in his father's footsteps as a comedian and failed at the first hurdle; he attempted a succession of hopeless jobs; then his first faltering successful steps on stage.
The breaks and the disasters are duly recorded against the background of a vivid account of the variety theatre of the day. Eventually, after a dreary war as a clerk in the RAF, Hancock was discovered, like so many others, by Ralph Reader of the Gang Show and, equally inevitably, found his way to the Windmill Theatre, where he learned "to die gracefully, like a swan".
The lad himself
His confidence was growing; people began to sense that he had something special. He got into radio as a running character in Peter Brough's Educating Archie. His catchphrase "Isn't it sickening? The crucial event in his life as a star was when he met the writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, who uncannily channelled the essence of the man Hancock into the character Hancock - boastful, aspirational, intolerant, out of place almost everywhere he finds himself, but none the less possessed of a certain grandeur.
This character is surely one of the great inventions of 20th century comedy, the love-child of two writers and the actor they served.
Just as surely as Archie Rice or Jimmy Porter, Hancock as created by Galton and Simpson expressed the age - the post-war accidie, the sense of vanished dreams, of alienation and angst, the rage against conformist greyness - but through the rumpled and familiar form of the man the writers in an inspired moment christened Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock. In one of a million astonishing details in the book, Fisher reveals that Hancock was seriously courted to play Jimmy Porter in the film of Look Back in Anger. As a boy I was besotted with Hancock, especially after his transition to TV, for which medium his infinitely expressive, melted-down features seemed made.
Indeed, I identified with him, recognising in him a middle-aged child not so very unlike the middle-aged child I felt myself to be. There is so often a child at the heart of great comic creation, and Hancock was gorgeously, outrageously infantile. The part was bespoke: Fisher is exceptionally good on the interpenetration of character and man, and shrewdly observes that it was this that began to gnaw at Hancock.
There were times, Fisher says, "when he felt cheated of his real identity". He began to feel that the character was merely him, and that therefore he wasn't proving himself. He started to think of himself as an artist, which, of course, he was, but a deeply instinctive one - he never read the radio scripts until the morning of the transmission, giving flawlessly timed and inhabited impromptu performances. The blitheness of radio - where scripts don't have to be learned and the actors have an easy camaraderie across the microphones - left him blissfully unselfconscious.
Television, where everything had to happen for real, started the process of endless self-analysis which, his brother noted, killed him. He was invited to appear on the notorious Face to Face series in which the invisible John Freeman, shrouded in shadow, interrogated him as the camera dwelt on his face. It was a form of public confession without absolution which did him irreparable damage, tipping him over into a sort of anguished contemplation of his own limitations and an obsessive determination to innovate. He yearned to be an international figure, like Chaplin or Buster Keaton.
This meant the dismantlement of Hancock as we knew him, the departure from East Cheam, the abandonment of his co-stars Sid James the first to go and, catastrophically, the dismissal of his writers. From then on - despite occasional successes such as his film The Rebel - it was a slow and increasingly excruciating professional suicide. His consumption of alcohol while on the job, which had begun when he was playing in variety theatres, began to destroy his talent: In life, he and his wives and mistresses plunged headlong into a sea of booze; at one point he chained himself to the railings of Primrose Hill.
Often things turned violent.