My Life in Pieces, Hardback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Drawing on a lifetime of writing about theatre and film, Callow takes us behind the curtain and behind the camera to introduce us to the performers and performances that have shaped him as an actor and as a public persona.

They include giants like Orson Welles, Charles Dickens, Tommy Cooper, Charles Laughton and Laurence Olivier.

The book reconstructs the highlights of his career, including his breakthrough roles as the foul-mouthed Mozart in "Amadeus", and as Reverend Beebe in the film of "A Room With a View", at the personal insistence of producer Ismail Merchant.

The pieces are interspersed with commentaries on pantomime, nudity, homosexuality, and the many other aspects of a rich and varied life, both on and off the stage.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual actors & performers
  • ISBN: 9781848420540



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My Life in Pieces is not your typical autobiography. It's a compilation of "pieces" written by the actor Simon Callow for various newspapers, books, programs, memorials, etc. Most of them, of course, revolve around Callow's work in the theatre and on film. If his name isn't familiar to you, his face probably will be, from movies if not the stage: he played the Rev. Mr. Beebe in 'A Room with a View,' Schikaneder/Papageno in 'Amadeus,' and Gareth, the gay man who dies of a heart attack at one of the receptions in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral.' He's also well-known for his one-man show on Charles Dickens, which was televised in the UK and is available on DVD here in the US. Callow presents insightful essays on many of the great actors of the twentieth century, most of whom he has acted with, including Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Alec Guinness, Paul Scofield, Orson Welles, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Ian McKellan, and more. In addition, he writes about several directors and playwrights, classic 'schools' and 'methods' of acting, and his own views on the status of acting on today's stage.Callow is a wonderful writer and a great storyteller. He can be funny, charming, reverent, and insightful--sometimes in the same piece. The stories he tells of working in the theatre are delightful, but they also give one an appreciation for the true art of acting. I listened to this book on audio, and with Callow himself as reader, it was a wonderful experience. I've always thought he was a fine, underrated character actor, and my admiration of his work has grown after reading/listening to these 'pieces.' Recommended for anyone interested theatre arts.

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