[McKern, Leo]

First Night Telegram to Leo McKern from Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh

Nottingham: N.p., 1959

Greetings telegram, stamp-dated 10 August 1959 to reverse. Text strips a little age-toned, otherwise in fine condition.

FIRST NIGHT TELEGRAM, DATED 10 AUGUST 1959, TO LEO McKERN FROM LAURENCE OLIVIER AND HIS WIFE VIVIEN LEIGH: 'Great good wishes for huge success, Vivien and Laurence Olivier.'

'[McKern's] second, and last ever, directing job was the Australian prize-winning stage play The Shifting Heart by Richard Beynon, a story of Italian immigrants living in Collingwood, then a slum suburb of Melbourne, and their struggle for acceptance and survival in a racist community. ... It's UK season was at the Nottingham Theatre Royal from 10 August 1959, then the Duke of York's in the West End -- a joint venture by Sir Laurence Olivier's company and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. Olivier had invited McKern to direct.'

George Whaley, Leo 'Rumpole' McKern: The Accidental Actor [USNW Press, 2009]

The show received mixed reviews, and McKern himself felt he'd done a bad job. On the up side, he kept the telegram sent to him by one of twentieth century theatre's most glamorous couples.

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