Edmund Clerihew Bentley - Samuel Johnson - Thomas Carlyle - Oscar Wilde - Plutarch - Rebecca West - J B Priestley - Lytton Strachey - Peter Ackroyd - William Shakespeare - Great Crimes and Trials TV - Mark Twain - Richard Attenborough - John Updike - Arthur Balfour - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Benjamin Disraeli - The Hitch 2014 - The Hour of Our Time: The Legacy of William Cooper TV - Searching for Sugar Man 2012 - Lucy Worsley TV - Harry Enfield & Norbert Smith: A Life 1989 - Emma Goldman: An Exceedingly Dangerous Woman 2004 - An Anarchist’s Story: Ethel McDonald 2006 - Fred Dibnah: Steeplejack TV - Fred Dibnah: A Tribute to Fred TV - Reputations TV - A Very Singular Man TV – The Real Winnie Mandela TV - Hawking 2004 - Control 2007 - Sid & Nancy 1986 - Basquiat 1996 - Neruda 2016 - Biopics: George Michael TV - RBG 2018 - Lady, You Shot Me: Life and Death of Sam Cooke TV - Jane Fonda in Five Acts TV - Arena: George Orwell TV - Arena: The Artist Formerly Known as Cat Stevens TV - George Orwell: A Life in Pictures TV - Stalin: Inside the Terror TV - Citizen Lane 2018 - Fred: The Godfather of British Crime 2018 - Chasing Trane 2016 - Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark 2014 - Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia 2013 - Tony Benn: Last Will & Testament TV - Storyville: Being Evel Knievel TV - The Truth About Franco: Spain’s Forgotten Dictator TV - John Wayne: America at All Costs TV - Definitely Dusty 2020 - Too Young to Die TV - Meeting Gorbachev TV - Lawrence of Arabia: Britain’s Great Adventurer TV - Norman Wisdom: His Story TV - A Life in Ten Pictures TV - Reclaiming Amy TV - A Life in Ten Pictures: Amy Winehouse TV - Amy Winehouse in Her Own Words TV - Hawking: Can You Hear Me? TV - Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday TV - Elizabeth Taylor: A Fierce Love TV - Diana TV - Red Elvis: The Cold War Cowboy TV - Storyville: Misha and the Wolves TV -
The Art of Biography
Is different from Geography.
Geography is about Maps,
But Biography is about Chaps. Edmund Clerihew Bentley, 1875-1956, English writer
Nobody can write the life of a man, but those who have eat and drunk and lived in social intercourse with him. Samuel Johnson
History is the essence of innumerable biographies. Thomas Carlyle
Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography. Oscar Wilde, Intentions, 1891
Biography lends to death a new terror. Oscar Wilde
I am writing biography, not history, and the truth is that the most brilliant exploits often tell us nothing of the virtues or vices of the men who performed them, while on the other hand a chance remark or a joke may reveal far more of a man’s character than the mere feat of winning battles in which thousands fall, or of marshalling great armies, or laying siege to cities. Plutarch, Parallel Lives
Just how difficult it is to write biography can be reckoned by anybody who sits down and considers just how many people know the truth about his or her love affairs. Rebecca West
I never read the life of any important person without discovering that he knew more and could do more than I could ever hope to know or to do in half a dozen lifetimes. J B Priestley, Apes and Angels, 1928
Discretion is not the better part of biography. Lytton Strachey
I think biography can be more personal than fiction, and certainly can be more expressive. Peter Ackroyd
To hear the story of your life, which must
Take the ear strangely. William Shakespeare, The Tempest V i @315, Alonso
On 7th December the literary world of Manhattan was astonished by the news of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes had agreed to tell his life story to an obscure Clifford Irving, previously best known for a book named Fake. Great Crimes and Trials: Howard Hughes Biography Hoax
His first love was aviation and breaking records. ibid.
Hughes was called before a Congressional committee to explain why the Spruce Goose had cost US taxpayers $18,000,000 for a white elephant. But he shrugged it off. As he did another committee hearing the same year. ibid.
Growing ever more eccentric, Howard Hughes believed to be the richest man in America hid his face completely when moving in and out of hotels. The only people who ever saw it were his five Mormon bodyguards. ibid.
The hoax had gained worldwide publicity. ibid.
Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written. Mark Twain
I just love biography, and I'm fascinated by people who have shifted our destinies or our points of view. Richard Attenborough
But for a few phrases from his letters and an odd line or two of his verse, the poet walks gagged through his own biography. John Updike
Biography should be written by an acute enemy. Arthur Balfour
There is properly no history; only biography. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. Benjamin Disraeli, Contarini Fleming, 1832
In his lifetime the writer Christopher Hitchens fixed his devastating gaze on the likes of Henry Kissinger, the Clintons and even Mother Teresa. The Hitch, Youtube 2014
His most lasting legacy may be his atheism. ibid.
For a long time Chris was a staple of the left-wing media. ibid.
He has called Henry Kissinger a war-criminal and Bill Clinton a raving psycho. ibid.
She [mother] escorted me to my boarding school at the age of eight. ibid.
The room behind me [mother’s suicide] is full of death and darkness and depression. ibid.
The Case for War by Christopher Hitchens. ibid.
Covered in a coat of powder, grey powder, made of people … ibid.
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. ibid.
On November 5th 2001 world renowned author, lecturer, radio show host and ex-naval intelligence officer William Cooper was killed under suspicious circumstances outside his home in Edgar Arizona. The Hour of Our Time: The Legacy of William Cooper
‘Read everything, listen to everybody, don’t trust anything unless you can prove it with your own research.’ ibid. Bill
The sound of a captivating voice in the wilderness, that authoritative and self-assured voice for five nights a week would educate us, enlighten us and more importantly warn us. ibid.
One of the most popular underground conspiracy books of all time: Behold a Pale Horse. ibid.
The 42 hours’ worth of dedicated broadcasts … Mystery Babylon. ibid.
‘Friends would come over and we would listen to Bill Cooper.’ ibid. fan
Harassed by government agents who kept watch on him. ibid.
‘Be prepared for a major attack. But it won’t be Osama bin Laden; it’ll be those behind the New World Order … They must do something terrible.’ ibid. Bill’s broadcast 28th June 2001
‘After leaving his residence in his vehicle, the report states that Cooper confronted plain clothed deputies a short distance away’. ibid. Sierra Times
Bill’s body was lying by the doorstep of his house for approximately 15 hours while officials waited for a robot to be sent up from Phoenix in order his evaluate his house and property for explosives. ibid.
‘In making these broadcasts I have sealed my fate. ibid. Bill
It’s 40 years since this LP called Cold Effects from Rodriguez was released. Searching for Sugar Man ***** 2012
He had committed suicide - he set himself alight on stage and burnt to death in front of the audience … the most grotesque suicide in rock history. ibid.
Why didn’t he make it? ibid.
He’s alive and kicking and living in Detroit. ibid.
In South Africa you are bigger than Elvis Presley. ibid. investigator
Emerson, I gotta go on tour. ibid. Rodriguez
South Africa made me feel like more than a prince. ibid.
August 1806: Jane Austen found herself squeezed alongside her mother, her sister and her lawyer, rushing into Warwickshire in her cousin’s carriage … Jane’s destination … Stoneleigh Abbey … She was thirty years old. Jane Austen: Behind Close Doors, BBC 2017
There wasn’t that much money for luxuries. ibid.
Jane had free access to her father’s library. ibid.