From another time, another world: the mystique of John Gielgud

Lifestyle

From another time, another world: the mystique of John Gielgud

Hunting down the last survivor of the fabled trinity of classical actors

Julie Kavanagh

One afternoon in 1997, I found a note on my desk in the magazine office where I worked: “John Gielgud would like you to ring, please.”

I knew exactly why: the 93-year-old Gielgud was going to invite me to lunch. Four months earlier I’d had a letter from Paul Anstee, the actor’s former partner, long-standing friend and executor. Gielgud had lent him my biography of Frederick Ashton and Anstee wanted me to make Sir John my next subject.

“I have photographs galore,” Anstee told me. “Letters and diaries to help with dates if anything comes of it all.”..

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