Revealing the man behind the myth, this perceptive, witty, and penetrating portrait investigates Laurence Olivier?not merely the greatest actor of the 20th century, but perhaps of all time. Its chapters touch on his achievements as a director of both plays and films, his central role in the founding of the National Theater, and the off-stage dramas of his private life. Onstage and off, Olivier played many parts and lived many lives. During his distinguished 60-year career he made numerous Hollywood movies; appeared in several highly successful TV series; worked closely with actors such as John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Marilyn Monroe, and Dustin Hoffman; led the British theater in a Golden Age; and packed theaters in New York. Knighted in 1947, he received many awards, including Oscars for Henry V and Hamlet, an Emmy for his role in Brideshead Revisited, a Golden Globe for Marathon Man, and a BAFTA for Oh! What a Lovely War. But since his death in 1989, new revelations have come to light concerning the vicar's son who filled the Old Vic at 30, married three times, and shared West End billing in his eighties with a succession of pop stars. Investigating the truth behind these claims as well as rumors of Olivier's alleged gay affairs with the likes of Marlon Brando and Danny Kaye, this biography brings together the many strands of Olivier's life and sheds new light on this remarkable man.