Acting legend's stinging criticism of his co-stars

Actor Sir Laurence Olivier at his 80th birthday celebration. File / Photo
Actor Sir Laurence Olivier at his 80th birthday celebration. File / Photo

Sir Laurence Olivier's stinging criticism of co-stars including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Fontaine and Kirk Douglas has been revealed in tapes he made for the autobiography he never wrote.

The acting legend's audio tapes have been uncovered and used to put together a new biography, almost 25 years after his death, with the permission of Olivier's widow, Joan Plowright, and the original interviewer.

The recordings reveal Olivier's true thoughts on his Hollywood peers, including his "hatred" for Monroe, his troubled co-star in 1957 movie The Prince and the Showgirl.

He said of the iconic blonde, "My hatred for her was one of the strongest emotions I have ever felt."

However, he went on to admit he was blown away by her performance onscreen adding, "I was flabbergasted (by) how wonderful Marilyn was."

Olivier went on to brand his Rebecca leading lady Fontaine "loathsome", while he called his Wuthering Heights co-star Merle Oberon "a silly little amateur".

The star also revealed he was deeply irritated by Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster during production on their 1959 film The Devil's Disciple, spitting, "I didn't care to be taught acting by those two."

The book by Philip Ziegler, titled Olivier, is due for release in September. The actor died in 1989 at the age of 82.


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