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A Rogues' Gallery is a journey through the past half-century, charting the ups and downs of leading writers and actors, thinkers, entertainers, gurus, politicians and public n-conformists. It collects the snapshots gathered during one journalist's long and varied career of the famous and infamous, foolish and funny, when they were off-camera. Here are private views of the tensions that opened cracks in the marriages of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Harold Pinter and Vivien Merchant, Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright. What really happened when Laurie Lee drank cider with Rosie? Which film roles made Alec Guinness most satisfied and dissatisfied? Which made a young Judi Dench cry? How the woman Hitler most admired publicly embarrassed him; how the spoons once embarrassed Uri Geller; how theatre critics sometimes get hit; how Jon Sw got out of jail; how comedians from Frankie Howerd to Jacques Tati, P. G. Wodehouse to John Betjeman, are beset with anxiety. These are the sort of discoveries made during an eventful life spent observing human quirks and frailties. They make A Rogues' Gallery a different sort of memoir.
A lifelong freelance journalist, Peter Lewis has written for most national newspapers. He acquired a National Press Award for his work as an international reporter for the Daily Mail, where he has also been theatre critic and literary editor. Educated at Oxford, Peter Lewis launched his career in journalism by working for provincial papers. He has since published social histories of life during the Second World War and the 1950s. He also documented the life of George Orwell, and the rise of the National Theatre.