John Mortimer: The Secret Lives of Rumpole's Creator

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Macmillan, Aug 22, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 326 pages
In Britain every generation produces a national treasure, a lovable figure so English that he could not possibly be of any other nationality, and Sir John Mortimer is just such a figure.Mortimer has delighted millions all over the world with seven television series about the gloriously larger-than-life fictional barrister Horace Rumpole --- Rumpole of the Bailey --- as well as novels, autobiographies, stage plays, film scripts, short stories, television and radio plays, newspaper articles, and even an opera and a ballet. Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Alec Guinness appeared in his plays, and among his greatest theatrical triumphs is his stage and television play A Voyage Round My Father. He won a British Book Awards trophy for Lifetime Achievement in 2005.Mortimer actually practiced as a barrister for thirty-six years, defending husbands, wives, pornographers, and murderers in court and starring as the real-life "Devil's Advocate" in several legendary obscenity and blasphemy cases in the 1970s, quickly becoming a liberal hero.Yet despite huge success, fame, and knighthood there lurks beneath that genial "champagne socialist" mask an unusually complex man who has been plagued by depression, doubt, insecurity, and an irresistible urge to commit adultery.Biographer Graham Lord, whose discovery that Mortimer had a secret son by the British actress Wendy Craig forced Sir John to admit it publicly in 2004, has interviewed scores of Mortmer's family, friends, mistresses, and enemies to write a frank and vital biography that reveals the startling reality behind the beloved public figure. "Breathless prose and many juicyrevelations-an absorbing read."--Kirkus Reviews

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JOHN MORTIMER: The Secret Life of Rumpole's Creator: The Unauthorized Biography

User Review  - Kirkus

An erstwhile "friendly acquaintance" who fell out with Rumpole of the Bailey's creator over this biography strips back the man's jovial veneer to reveal dark and adulterous activities.Former Sunday ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kerrlm - LibraryThing

Being a fan of John Mortimer, I was amazed at the yellow journalism in this book. I can see that anyone with a talent for words could slant anything to fit his mind set. I could not finish this book. I wonder why Lord was so vicious in his accounts of Mortimer. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Graham Lord is the author of NIV, a biography of David Niven. He has written acclaimed biographies of Arthur Lowe, Dick Francis, James Herriot, and Jeffrey Bernard as well as eight novels, an autobiographical portrait of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and several short stories. For twenty-three years he was the literary editor and weekly books columnist at The Sunday Express in London and he now lives in France with a painter, Juliet Lewis. Full details of all his books can be found at www.graham-lord.com. 

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