Debussy Was My Grandfather

The Madness of Vivien Leigh

by Garry O’Connor



Under the one title are brought together two plays by the critically acclaimed Garry O’Connor, Debussy Was My Grandfather and The Madness of Vivien Leigh. A theme common to both is the emotional and psychological turmoil underneath the veil of public careers, with an uncompromising look at the undercurrents: the dysfunction of domestic/family life, in all its anguish and floridity. There’s a nicely judged balance between art in its moments of transcendence, and the reality underpinning it, with a flawed humanity put to the service of art. It’s a theme O’Connor has explored in a substantial body of work as novelist, biographer and playwright…



Rights Information

World rights held excluding Uk print rights.


Praise for Garry O’Connor’s biographies

William Shakespeare: A Popular Life

‘Garry O’Connor’s Shakespeare is a contemporary figure…. The ideas jostle each other off the page in this entertaining book. Speculating about the life of Shakespeare is an instructive way for all of us to look in the mirror.’ John Mortimer, Sunday Times

Alec Guinness: The Unknown

‘A brilliant detective story…. The more I think about this book, the more I come to believe that it is one of the truly great actor biographies of our time.’ Sheridan Morley, Literary Review

The Secret Woman: A Life of Peggy Ashcroft

‘A great achievement…a fascinating account.’ Michael Arditti, The Times

Ralph Richardson, An Actor’s Life

‘Stunning…. The best biography of an actor I’ve ever read.’ New York Times

Universal Father: A life of Pope John Paul II

‘A drama in which the soliloquies develop and deepen…the only life of the late Pope that is an artistic achievement in its own right.’ Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph




The mythology of one of the century’s most celebrated marriages…a brilliantly perceptive portrait.’ The Observer

With real insight O’Connor gets plausibly close to what made Olivier and wife tick as artists…a penetrating, utterly objective mind at work. Irish Times

Compulsive…the pair who were Charles and Di, Torville and Dean, Tragedy and Comedy, Scylla and Charybdis all rolled into one.’ Vogue


Author Biography

Garry O’Connor has worked as daily theatre critic for the Financial Times, and as a director for the RSC, before he became a fulltime writer. As novelist, biographer and playwright Garry has published many books on actors, literary figures, religious and political leaders, including Pope John Paul II and the Blairs. He has had plays performed at Edinburgh, Oxford, Ipswich, London and on Radio 4, and contributed dramatised documentaries to Radio 3, scripts and interviews for BBC 1, as well as having his work adapted for a three-part mini-series.


Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: July 2012
  • English
  • 9781902086040
  • United Kingdom
  • Paperback
  • Primary Price: 9.99 GBP
  • Pages: 210
  • CentreHouse Press
  • Readership: General
  • Publish State: Published
  • Edition: First
  • Dimensions: 7.75 x 5.0625 inches