HUGO VICKERS Biographer & Historian
Cecil Beaton (1985)
Hardback (UK) 1985
Paperback (UK) 1986
Hardback (US) 1986
Paperback (US) 1987
Paperback (UK) 1993
Paperback (UK) 2002
Paperback (UK) 2003

Before Cecil Beaton died, he chose Hugo Vickers to write his authorised biography and consigned to him all his personal and business letters and his 145 volumes of manuscript diaries. Using this wealth of wholly unpublished material, travelling extensively in Europe and America, and interviewing friends from every aspect and age of Beaton's life - including Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote, Lady Diana Cooper, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana Vreeland, Sir John Gielgud, the Countess of Avon and many others - he has written a fascinating book which throws a completely new light on the man and his career. For not only are the public events of Beaton's glittering life fully chronicled, but his very private character emerges for the first time from the mass of his unpublished diaries, so very different from those edited by Beaton for publication.

Hugo Vickers examined how a boy from a staid middle-class family, whose father was a timber merchant, became an international figure, making his name and developing his talents despite the many obstacles that lay in his path. In the book he revealed for the first time the early love affair which brought Beaton to the edge of despair; told the intimate story of his great love for Greta Garbo; described the struggles that took place behind the scenes when a major play or film was being created: showed how success as a playwright - his main ambition - eluded him throughout his life; and disclosed what Beaton really thought about the people he photographed and worked with.

Cecil Beaton enjoyed enormous fame during his lifetime: his brilliant photographs reflect five decades of the twentieth century from the Roaring Twenties to the long war years and the Swinging Sixties, and his costume and set designs for Gigi and My Fair Lady won him three Oscars®. But since his death, his reputation has soared and the fascination for his work and lifestyle is stronger than ever.

Hugo Vickers was twenty-eight when Sir Cecil Beaton invited him to write his biography, a task which took him five years of intensive research.

The book has never been out of print since it was published in 1985.
The revised 2003 edition is in print.
Some 1993 copies available via this site, which can be signed by the author.