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This is the long-awaited autobiography of one of Britain's best-loved and most internationally successful actors. By turns funny, charming, and poignant, here is Michael Crawford's vivid account of his war-torn childhood -- of a loving mother, violent stepfather, and the painfully revealed truth about his absent father. His early memories include being taught to sing by the great composer Benjamin Britten, and later, when he entered show business, his friendships with David Hemmings, John Lenn, and Oliver Reed. There are also stories of Crawford making a fool of himself in front of idols Gene Kelly and Barbra Streisand while filming Hello Dolly . Starring in Barnum and The Phantom of the Opera , Crawford became a huge international star, but this engaging memoir rarely strays from the honest and self-deprecating qualities that have endeared him to his many fans.