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Lady Don't Fall Backwards [Paperback]

Joan Le Mesurier
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Aug 1989
Shortly after Joan Le Mesurier's marriage to John, she fell in love with his best friend, Tony Hancock. Here, she tells the story of her passionate and stormy affair, Hancock's addiction to alcohol, black depressions and brilliant triumphs and John who took her back after Hancock's suicide.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (11 Aug 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330309943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330309943
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining. 30 Jan 2011
This book is superb.

I came across it by randomly searching for books about Tony Hancock. At the good price I decided to get it and it arrived very quickly.

I very rarely get transfixed by books, but this was one of the few! I read it all in one day!! Excellent!!

If you can find it I recommend it - if you're a Hancock fan - as it explains much that is previously unknown at the time of writing. Plus most of the life of John Le Mesurier. (His wife wrote it.)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woman Behaving Badly 11 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
it is easy to see how such diverse personalities as John Le Mesurier and Tony Hancock fell in love with the author. Even when she is,by her own admission, behaving badly, it is impossible not to like her as she is so very honest about her own shortcomings and she writes very entertainingly about her complex love life.
Joan captures the sense of the restrictive attitudes of the 1950's and she writes warmly about her parents, who were completely supportive and encouraged her in her decision to move to London even volunteering to look after her son while she was away during the week.
The reader might feel a sense of anger at the way she treated John. She was aware that he had been deeply hurt by the breakup of his marriage to Hattie Jacques. John came to the assistance of his good friend Tony Hancock and with Joans consent offered him a place to stay when he was in the grip of chronic alcoholism. Hancock betrayed his generosity by starting an initially passionate affair with Joan. John was again the injured party when she moved out and subsequently set up home with Tony at various addresses, none of which proved to be happy in the long term. Hancock, like most alcoholics was incredibly selfish and his behavior became increasingly boorish and at times violent. She captures the madness of alcoholism very well, the damage to the drinker and to the repeatedly let down friends and family. The mood altering effect of the drink on Hancock was quite frightening, necessitating repeated failed episodes of rehab and more alarmingly even E.C.T. to cope with his depression.
John Le Mesurier remained loyal and constant to both Joan and Tony. It is obvious by the affection that is expressed by all of Johns friends and family for him that he was an extraordinary man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings on reaching the end of this very well written autobiography. First, my interest is in Tony Hancock primarily, and then John Le Mesurier. Other than the fact that Joan was having an affair with the former whilst married to the latter my interest in Joan Le Mesurier is non existent. I have other biographies on Tony and only bought this book to read of things from Joans viewpoint. My only real criticism is the somewhat narcistic and cavalier way she mistreated John first with Tony, and later with others regardless of how brief the affairs resulted - and even preventing John from being the subject of "This Is Your Life." However, Joans story from her childhood to her living in Spain is a very good read which is difficult to put down because of the journey she took along the way. I'm left feeling that as much as I find Joan difficult to like and believe that she has had a charmed existence being involved with two of Britains best loved comedy actors and riding on their coat tails, I am grateful for her giving us this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sideways look at a comedy legend 2 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Tony Hancock was possibly the finest comedian Britain ever produced. But he was beset by demons. Joan le Mesurier was one of the women who was entranced by this comedy giant, and almost brought to the brink of destruction by his love affair with the bottle. Here she recounts how she betrayed one of Britain's best-loved actors, John Le Mesurier, to have a tortured affair with her husband's best friend. It is a testament to John's deep-seated decency that he found the inner resources to forgive her and the couple enjoyed a happy marriage until his death.
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