Remembering Mandy Rice-Davies

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Mandy Rice-Davies, photographed by Bryan Wharton, 1986.

Photo by Bryan Wharton, 1986. (National Portrait Gallery, London)

My life has been one long descent into respectability.

I woke up this morning to the news that Marilyn Foreman – better known as Mandy Rice-Davies, whose very name still conjures bittersweet memories of the Profumo Affair, more than half a century later – died last night after a short battle with cancer. I am shocked and sad – she was so full of energy and wit that I thought nothing would stop her. I never knew her personally but she was a huge part of my creative life. And as a woman, her refusal to be cowed by sexual hypocrisy was incredibly inspiring.

Peter Stanford has written an excellent obituary for The Guardian, and you can read some of my own Mandy-related posts here.

‘Wicked Baby’ on Kindle

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I’m proud to announce that Wicked Baby, my 2004 novella about the events of the Profumo Affair, is now available to download via Kindle. This new edition includes an afterword, and five articles about the scandal’s lasting impact on society and popular culture, two of which are previously unpublished. The ebook is available on Amazon worldwide, and will set you back around £1.93, or $2.99 in the US. You can read the first three chapters before purchasing. So to all you e-readers, have at it – and if you like it, please add a quick review and rating on Amazon! More details later…

Preview or buy now in the UK

USA

Australia

Canada

France

Germany

… and many more!

Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

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Lauren Bacall

This article is also published at Immortal Marilyn

Hawksian Women: Marilyn and Lauren Bacall

“And to begin with, to me, a legend is something that is not on the earth, that is dead…legends are built and evolve in the past. They’re not the present. I don’t like categories either…You are what you are, everyone is an individual.” - Lauren Bacall, 2005  Continue reading

Refugee Radio Times

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Refugee Radio Times

Refugee Radio is a Brighton-based human rights charity. Their projects include a weekly radio show, live events and media training, as well as mentoring, a post-traumatic resilience panel, and a cookery group. Refugee Radio Times, a new book, was compiled by Stephen Silverwood, the charity’s chief executive, and Lorna Stephenson, who also edits a monthly newsletter of the same name. The book includes personal testimonies from refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants, alongside journalism and analysis by human rights campaigners. Continue reading

The Last Misfit: Eli Wallach 1915-2014

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‘The Misfits’ (1961)

This article can also be read at Immortal Marilyn.

The Last Misfit: Eli Wallach 1915-2014

Eli Herschel Wallach was born at Union Street, in Brooklyn’s Red Hook district, in December 1915. One of four children, he grew up above Bertha’s candy store, managed by his Polish immigrant parents – one of the few Jewish businesses in a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. Two months previously, Arthur Miller had been born in Harlem; while Elia Kazan, born in Istanbul in 1909, was living in New York with his Greek Orthodox family.

‘Even in my earliest memories, my wish was always the same: I wanted to be an actor,’ Wallach wrote in his 2005 memoir, The Good, the Bad and Me.  Continue reading

My Baby Shot Me Down

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my baby shot me down

‘My Baby Shot Me Down’ is the subtitle of ‘Bang Bang’, an eerie ballad made famous by Cher and Nancy Sinatra in the 1960s, and more recently revived in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. And it is now the title of a new anthology, showcasing women writers. On the cover a paint-splattered angel, or ballerina – a little girl’s figurine – dons a gas-mask for what looks like a psychedelic reworking of Nirvana’s In UteroContinue reading

Stella! Mother of Modern Acting

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Stella! Mother of Modern Acting by Sheana Ochoa

My review of Stella! Mother of Modern Acting, Sheana Ochoa‘s compelling new biography of Stella Adler – the actress, director and teacher who lived through extraordinary times, and after a revelatory meeting with Stanislavsky, made it her mission to challenge the dominance of Lee Strasberg’s Method – is posted today at For Books’ Sake.

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“I prefer to bask in the legend of people I’ve only heard about,” Lana Del Rey writes in a memo given out at the premiere of her short film, Tropico, in December 2013. “To me – they are as real as the people sitting in this theater.” Continue reading

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