SUN AND SHADOW by Jean-Pierre Aumont


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Bilingual actor-playwright Aumont moves smoothly between intense close-ups and disengaged breeziness in these likable reminiscences of Paris-N.Y. theater, ParisHollywood films, service with the Free French Forces, marriage, fatherhood, and a few friends. Movies hardly signify for Jean-Pierre; at one career make-or-break point, he observes: ""Whatever the case, it didn't really matter to me."" What really did matter were the sudden deaths of wife Maria Montez (a fainting spell during one of her long, hot baths) and General Brosset (aide-de-camp Aumont escaped from the sunken jeep in which the General drowned), and the divorce-remarriage that cemented his married life with much-younger Marisa Pavan. The requisite theatrical anecdotes glide in: unknown Jean Anouilh wandering in the wings and running errands for Louis Jouvet; early success (La Machine In female) and later disenchantment with Cocteau; honest Kit Cornell canceling a N.Y. opening, saying, ""It's because you steal the show; and I can't afford it""; Al Pacino rewriting Camino Real to come out with ""Shit, man, romance is fucking important."" And co-star Vivien Leigh's collapse during Tovarich on Broadway (far better told here than in the new Anne Edwards bio) becomes a starkly compassionate book-within-the-book. But show-bizzy this memoir is not, nor is it sensationally self-revealing--just the somewhat reserved, rather intelligent backward glances of a matinee idol who has pursued monogamy, an actor who'd rather write plays.

Pub Date: May 13th, 1977
ISBN: 0393335623
Publisher: Norton