Kenneth Williams: Born Brilliant : The Life of Kenneth Williams, Hardback Book

Kenneth Williams: Born Brilliant : The Life of Kenneth Williams Hardback

5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Kenneth Williams was the stand-out comic actor of his generation.

Beloved as the manic star of Carry On films and as a peerless raconteur on TV chat shows, he was also acclaimed for serious stage roles.

Born Brilliant will include much previously unseen material from Williams's candid daily journal and also draw on rare in-depth interviews with friends and colleagues.

Since the publication of edited extracts from his diaries, much controversy has surrounded Williams's personal and professional lives.

This biography traces the complex contradictions that characterised an extraordinary life and presents the first full portrait of a star who was born brilliant.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual actors & performers
  • ISBN: 9781848541955

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Kenneth Williams was a genius. I have read all the biographies and the autobiography so, one would be surprised, and suspicious, were this one to be radically different: it isn't. Was it, then, worth the read? Yes. Williams was a complex character, capable of acts of monumental kindness and equal spite. Previous biographies have pointed this out but, Stevens is the first biographer to stitch the two facets together in a believable, understandable way. This book also finally puts the lid on the theories that Williams committed suicide. The explanation as to how he died are compelling and, just to be sure, Stevens takes the time to destroy the suicide theories one by one.The best two compliments that I can pay this book are, firstly that it was one of those reads that one does not want to reach the end and secondly, it has driven me straight to the collection of Hancock, Round the Horne and Carry On recordings to enjoy the man's work.

Review by

The complex life of Kenneth Williams is well told here by Christopher Stevens. Williams was a truly marvellous wit and raconteur as well as a popular comic actor. He was also a repressed homosexual and suffered from acute depression. He seemed to make so many wrong decisions during the course of his career,and on the way he fell out with most of his friends. He died by taking a mixture of pills which may have been a successful suicide attempt or as this book would have it, an unfortunate accident. The verdict is still out on that one I think.