Straight Face: The autobiography
Hodder & Stoughton, 2002
Nigel Hawthorne, who died of cancer at the age of 72 shortly before this book was published, was one of the most well known British actors of stage, screen and TV of his time.
For many actors, there is often a gruelling period of hard work, understudy roles, and the occasional lucky break for those fortunate and determined enough, and Nigel was no exception to the rule. Not until he had reached middle age did he find success with a variety of roles, most famously the political TV comedy series 'Yes Minister' and its sequel 'Yes Prime Minister', his moving portrayal of King George III in 'The madness of King George' on stage and film, and various Shakespearean characters. His last role, performed while he was already seriously ill, was that of Lord Melbourne, QWueen Victoria's Prime Minister, in the much-acclaimed TV movie 'Victoria and Albert'.
In his memoirs, he describes his appearances and experiences with warmth, good humour and a certain amount of self-deprecation. He also writes vividly of the problems he sometimes encountered as a gay man living with a male partner, and the way he fought against discrimination from an often hostile media.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste