NOTES ON A COWARDLY LION by John Lahr

NOTES ON A COWARDLY LION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A readable and often endearing biography, by his son, of the late Bert Lahr, who was really, in private life, not particularly endearing even in his lean-and-slippered pantaloon days. One of the more complete and serious biographies ever attempted of a stage personality, this includes not only details of the tragedy of Lahr's first marriage; his early struggles, but also fairly studious critiques of his major turns and performances. Young Mr. Lahr's objectivity (he is a teacher of drama) probably was induced by his habitual respectful distance from a father who alternated between a roaring lion and morose mouse. In pursuit of the ""laugh,"" as the devout pursue salvation, Lahr was frenetically hard-working, ruthless in his demands on himself and insistence on professionalism in others, given to corrosive gloom and only occasional hijinks. Of most interest here is Bert Lahr's view of the higher reaches of Godot, Volpone and Shakespeare; theatre historians and devotees with long memories will be grateful for the full text of the ""Woodchoppers Song"" and other landmark material. From ""gnong, gnong, gnong!"" to Beckett's wasteland, an appropriate tribute to the man who was possibly our last great clown.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1969
ISBN: 0520223047
Publisher: Knopf