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Hancock [Paperback]

Freddie Hancock , David Nathan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Aug 1996
A biography of the comedian Tony Hancock, whose troubled life ended in suicide. The book is co-written by his widow, and incorporates recollections by personalities such as Kenneth Williams, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes.

Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; New edition edition (29 Aug 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563387610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563387619
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 580,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tragedy behind the comedy 15 April 2001
By A Customer
I started listening to Hancock's half Hour, 5 years ago, when I was 22 and I instantly felt an affinitiny with the charachter of Aloysious St John Hancock. This, however is not his story. This is the story of Anthony John Hancock, the real man who brought to life the scripts, word for word, he was given by Galton and Simpson.
This is the man who, despite being the most successful comedian in post-war Britain and receiving vast financial and critical rewards, was tormented by personal demons for most of his life.
Co-written by Hancock's second wife, known to him as Freddie, this book details both his rise to stardom and his eventual downfall but spends most of its time with Hancock when his is at the hight of his success.
Well written in both a comic and informative style this book takes the reader into the world that the public did not see. The world of an incredible talent who was also an incredibly flawed human being.
Despite discovering the flaws of Hancock, his heavy drinking, intense depression and even on occasion wife beating the reader is still left wishing they could have know him.
It is now more than likely an impossible task to separate Hancock the performer from Hancock the character and although this book shows you his flaws it only serves to highten the humour to an even higher degree.
From when the first Greeks stepped out and began their comedies they found that tragedy was more often than not the strange bedfellow of their performance. As it was then it was in Hancock's day.
Hancock's Half Hour remains as fresh today as it was almost half a century ago and the Hancock story remains as intriguing. This book is certainly a must read for every fan and would be no less intriguing to a complete Hancock Novice.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hancock - The life and death of a clown 14 Sep 2002
By A Customer
This book is a must have, for any fan of the late great Tony Hancock, or anybody interested in this period of British comedy.
This biography is written with warmth and humour, as befits such a well loved comic. But it is also brutally honest about the darker side of Tony's' character.
Written by people that actually knew him, Freddie was his second wife, it is a well-balanced work and not the usual character assassination, which seems to be the current fashion.
The bulk of the book covers the period of Tony's' first and second marriages.
Only near the end of Tony's life does the book seem a little less than comprehensive. The Joan Le Mesurier and the final Australian situations are not quite so in depth as the earlier years.
This is an excellent work, enjoyable and entertaining to read. An absolute must for any Hancock devotee.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Man behind the Persona 6 Sep 2007
This fascinating account of the man behind the public face also is the description of a man who was unable to conquer his own personal demons and subsequently lost his life.

A definite must for any Hancock fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Factual and unsentimental story of Tony Hancock 6 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Acknowledged as the first full biography on the brilliant but troubled comedian Tony Hancock, this book was first released in 1969, the year after Tony tragically took his own life in Sydney, Australia. Written in cooperation between David Nathan and Hancocks at first PR consultant and later his wife Freddie, the book is an almost immediate attempt to cash-in on the name of Mr Hancock in biography form. The details that are revealed in the main 182 pages of text offer a warts-and-all account which prove at times uncomfortable but fascinating reading. Hancocks suicide is dealt with without sentiment and almost as a matter of fact, which I find puzzling and rather cold hearted considering that Freddie knew Hancock for many years and although only briefly married to Tony, was still trading on his surname after his death. There are, rather disappointingly, no photos.

The BBC published book is however a very informative read that if like me you love the Hancock Half Hour radio and TV programmes, along with Tonys films "The Rebel" and "The Punch and Judy Man", and find Tony a fascinating character, then this book is an essential read.
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