Kenneth Williams: Born Brilliant - The Life of Kenneth Williams

Author(s): Christopher Stevens

Biography / Memoir

Kenneth Williams was the stand-out comic actor of his generation. Beloved as the manic star of Carry On films and as a peerless raconteur on TV chat shows, he was also acclaimed for serious stage roles. Born Brilliant will include much previously unseen material from Williams's candid daily journal and also draw on rare in-depth interviews with friends and colleagues. Since the publication of edited extracts from his diaries, much controversy has surrounded Williams's personal and professional lives. This biography traces the complex contradictions that characterised an extraordinary life and presents the first full portrait of a star who was born brilliant.


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Christopher Stevens's diligent biography offers illuminating insights into Kenneth Williams's work and inner life. Underpinned by a warm sympathy, Born Brilliant is often revealing and ... well-written - Sunday Telegraph

The book does something interesting and necessary. There is a danger with any book on Williams of just further nailing down the received wisdom: that he was entirely morbid, socially inadequate and consumed by guilt. What Stevens manages to do, even as he throws out all the examples of The Fear, is retune the accepted facts a little and tell the story not just of the melancholia but also of the happiness - Herald

Christopher Stevens has written a solid, workmanlike, authorised biography of this least solid or workmanlike or authorised of figures - Mail on Sunday

Stevens adeptly captures the mercurial temperament and frequent malice. For all his flaws, however, Williams remains lovable, to his devoted friends and fans, as well as to Stevens' readers - Metro

Stevens has done a grand job of reconciling the public and private Williamses - Daily Telegraph

Williams gets the biography he deserves: impeccably researched, compelling and, despite everything, sympathetic - Scotsman

a portrait far more sympathetic than the ascerbic one conjured by Williams' edited diary extracts in l993 - Independent

Excellent biography - Choice

Stevens has unearthed a great deal of new material - TLS

Christopher Stevens is a journalist who has written for numerous publications from Hello! to the Sunday Telegraph. He has worked for the Observer for twelve years and lives in Bristol with his wife and two sons.

General Fields

  • : 9781848541979
  • : John Murray General Publishing Division
  • : John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • : June 2011
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 791.092
  • : 1
  • : Paperback
  • : Christopher Stevens
  • : 448