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Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyondby Michael Lindsay Hogg
Synopses & Reviews
From acclaimed director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (The Normal Heart, The Beatles’ Let It Be, Brideshead Revisited, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, etc.), son of glamorous Warner’s movie star Geraldine Fitzgerald: a magical dreamscape memoir of his boyhood, coming-of-age, and making his way in the worlds of theater, film, and television.
Lindsay-Hogg’s father, an English baronet from a family whose money came from the China trade, lived in Ireland and was rarely seen by his son. The author’s stepfather was the scion of the Isidor Straus fortune, co-owner of R. H. Macy’s; Straus went down with the Titanic, and the author’s stepfather was, alas, fortune-less.
The author's mother, Geraldine Fitzgerald, the redheaded Irish seductress who won instant acclaim as Bette Davis’s best friend in Dark Victory and in William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights, spent time with Hollywood’s elite—Laurence Olivier, Charles Chaplin, and Orson Welles, with whom she worked in New York at the Mercury Theater and in other productions.
Lindsay-Hogg writes of how he wented his way into this exotic, mysterious, and seductive world, encountering as a small boy the likes of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, playing hide-and-seek with Olivia de Havilland, serving drinks to Humphrey Bogart, discussing life with Henry Miller.
At the book’s center, an offhand comment made to Lindsay-Hogg by his mother, when he was sixteen, about talk circulating (false, she claimed) that she had had a romantic relationship with Orson Welles (Fitzgerald and Welles had lived together at his home in Beverly Hills) and that Welles, rumor had it, was Michael’s father (“It’s not true,” she said. “You know how people put two and two together and get three . . .”).
That was the end of the conversation. (“It’s time for bed . . . You have school in the morning . . .” she said.) For Lindsay-Hogg, it opened up a whole new realm of his life. He was forever changed by the knowing—of not knowing.
Interwoven throughout his narrative is the element of questioning who his father was. Was he the patron saint of American pictures, the legendary genius of the twentieth century, Orson Welles, a consistently inconsistent person in Michael’s life . . . or was he the man who considered himself Michael’s real father? What did his “father” know? What did Welles know? And what did his mother know to be true (she had brought the author up to believe that she always told the truth)? And when would she tell her son what the truth was . . .
As Lindsay-Hogg struggled to make sense of it all, questions of missed chances, conversations never had, questions of what is withheld and what is true took root, dogging him, shaping his life . . . questions still, that haunt and inform this moving, deft, and illuminating memoir.
"Lindsay-Hogg , whose mother was actress Geraldine Fitzgerald, delivers an entertaining view of his film and theatrical experiences, as he tells his childhood as a search for truth and answers, 'with twists and feints and clues' against familial 'lies and deception.' His mother, who appeared in both film (Wuthering Heights, Dark Victory) and on stage (notably at Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre) was, as Lindsay-Hogg describes, a seductress who had affairs with Robert Capa and Henry Miller, and married Sir Edward Lindsay-Hogg and Stuart 'Boy' Scheftel. Driven by ambition, Lindsay-Hogg at age 24 directed 1960's England's music program Ready, Steady, Go, and later recorded videos for rock and roll bands like the Beatles ('Let it Be') and the Rolling Stones. He offers clever accounts of directing TV's Brideshead Revisited (casting, locations, script work, and working with such actors as Jeremy Irons) and on Broadway (Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Agnes of God with Tom Conti and Geraldine Page). Questions of rumored paternity haunt him — the possibility that Orson Welles was more than a mentor is lastly revealed by socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, once his mother's confidante. The book is both a story of a boy's pursuit for honesty and a talent finding his own way to fame" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From acclaimed director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (The Normal Heart, Brideshead Revisited, Let It Be, etc.), son of glamorous Warners’ movie star Geraldine Fitzgerald (Dark Victory, Wuthering Heights, etc.): a magical dreamscape memoir of his boyhood, coming of age, and making his way in the worlds of theater, film, and television.
He writes of growing up in Santa Monica, encountering the likes of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst; being surrounded by his mother’s pals, Hollywood’s elite—Olivier, Chaplin, Orson Welles, et al.—and eyeing a life in the theater as Fitzgerald worked in stage productions in New York.
At the book’s center, an offhand comment made to him by his mother about rumors circulating (false, she claimed) that she had a romantic relationship with Orson Welles . . . and that Welles was Michael’s father. (“You know how people put two and two together and get three,” she said.)
As Lindsay-Hogg struggled to make sense of it all, questions of missed chances, conversations never had, questions of what is withheld and what is true took root, dogging him, shaping his life . . . questions still, that haunt and inform this deft, irresistible memoir.
About the Author
Michael Lindsay-Hogg studied at Oxford before becoming a director of the 1960s British television rock series Ready, Steady, Go! On Broadway, he has directed Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Agnes of God, and The Boys of Winter. His films include Nasty Habits, Frankie Starlight, The Object of Beauty, and Waiting for Godot. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa.
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