Review: Peter Cushing – The Complete Memoirs / Author: Peter Cushing / Publisher: Signum Books / Release Date: May 17th
It is of course only fitting that to mark the great actor's centennial, his two previously published autobiographies should be reissued. They're collected together here alongside a short appendix containing The Peter Cushing Story from 1955 (intended to be serialised in the press, and unseen for years), plus a new forward by his long-standing secretary Joyce Broughton, and an introduction by film historian Jonathan Rigby.
We all know Cushing as the star of many Hammer horror films and of course, as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, and fans of those films will revel in reading about his time on those famous movies, in Cushing's own well-mannered and infectious words.
The first part of the collection, reprinting An Autobiography (first published in 1986) takes in his early life and contains plenty of unsentimental reminiscing, showing the actor's warmth and self-deprecating humour. However, we defy even the most cold-hearted of readers not to be moved to tears by his description of the death of his beloved wife, Helen. The second part, Past Forgetting (published in 1988) concentrates more on the films for which he is famous, although he also finds time to mention the many low-budget horrors he made during his career – “merry little pranks”, as he calls them. Once again, the stories are interesting and touching, and the whole thing feels like talking with an old friend.
Every time someone talks about Peter Cushing, they do so with admiration and respect for the man, and reading his own words you can see why. Recommended, and don't forget to toast the good fellow on May 26th!