Luck and Circumstance by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond

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Synopsis

From acclaimed director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (The Normal Heart, The Beatles’ Let It Be, Brideshead Revisited, The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, etc.), son of glamorous Warner’s movie star Geraldine Fitzgerald: a magical dreamscape memoir of his boyhood, coming-of-age, and making his way in the worlds of theater, film, and television.
 
Lindsay-Hogg’s father, an English baronet from a family whose money came from the China trade, lived in Ireland and was rarely seen by his son. The author’s stepfather was the scion of the Isidor Straus fortune, co-owner of R. H. Macy’s; Straus went down with the Titanic, and the author’s stepfather was, alas, fortune-less. 
 
The author's mother, Geraldine Fitzgerald, the redheaded Irish seductress who won instant acclaim as Bette Davis’s best friend in Dark Victory and in William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights, spent time with Hollywood’s elite—Laurence Olivier, Charles Chaplin, and Orson Welles, with whom she worked in New York at the Mercury Theater and in other productions.
 
Lindsay-Hogg writes of how he wented his way into this exotic, mysterious, and seductive world, encountering as a small boy the likes of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, playing hide-and-seek with Olivia de Havilland, serving drinks to Humphrey Bogart, discussing life with Henry Miller.   
 
At the book’s center, an offhand comment made to Lindsay-Hogg by his mother, when he was sixteen, about talk circulating (false, she claimed) that she had had a romantic relationship with Orson Welles (Fitzgerald and Welles had lived together at his home in Beverly Hills) and that Welles, rumor had it, was Michael’s father (“It’s not true,” she said. “You know how people put two and two together and get three . . .”).  
 
That was the end of the conversation. (“It’s time for bed . . . You have school in the morning . . .” she said.) For Lindsay-Hogg, it opened up a whole new realm of his life. He was forever changed by the knowing—of not knowing.
 
Interwoven throughout his narrative is the element of questioning who his father was. Was he the patron saint of American pictures, the legendary genius of the twentieth century, Orson Welles, a consistently inconsistent person in Michael’s life . . . or was he the man who considered himself Michael’s real father? What did his “father” know? What did Welles know? And what did his mother know to be true (she had brought the author up to believe that she always told the truth)? And when would she tell her son what the truth was . . . 
 
As Lindsay-Hogg struggled to make sense of it all, questions of missed chances, conversations never had, questions of what is withheld and what is true took root, dogging him, shaping his life . . . questions still, that haunt and inform this moving, deft, and illuminating memoir.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Michael Lindsay-Hogg

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Michael Lindsay-Hogg studied at Oxford before becoming a director of the 1960s British television rock series Ready, Steady, Go! On Broadway, he has directed Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Agnes of God, and The Boys of Winter. His films include Nasty Habits, Frankie Starlight, The Object of Beauty, and Waiting for Godot. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa.
 
Published September 27, 2011 by Knopf. 290 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Luck and Circumstance

Kirkus Reviews

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Lindsay-Hogg began working for BBC television during the ’70s, “working with the stars of the time on dramas written by equally stellar playwrights.” The author’s story is a riveting insider look at popular culture, from his boyhood in Santa Monica, while his mother was under contract to Warner...

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The New York Times

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Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s memoir explores the vexed question of his paternity.

Sep 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

BC Books

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Michael Lindsay-Hogg was known to me, before Luck and Circumstance, as a director who worked with t...

Nov 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

BC Books

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Luck and Circumstance: A Coming of Age in Hollywood, New York, and Points Beyond by Michael Lindsay-Hogg is a memoir of the author’s fascinating life in the entertainment industry.

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The Wall Street Journal

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When Michael Lindsay-Hogg was 16, he wanted to be an actor.

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New York Journal of Books

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When word passes to Welles that Lindsay-Hogg had to decline because of an evening rehearsal, the auteur seemingly disappears in a huffy puff of cigar smoke—and is not heard from again for four years.The dynamic friction created by the question of our author’s paternity gives the book its best mom...

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

The Washington Times

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Yes LUCK AND CIRCUMSTANCE: A COMING OF AGE IN HOLLYWOOD, NEW YORK, AND POINTS BEYOND By Michael Lindsay-Hogg Knopf, $25, 304 pages, illustrated It is refreshing to encounter this memoir by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

Nov 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

Entertainment Weekly

Michael Lindsay-Hogg has directed movies, TV series, even music documentaries (he's got cool stories to tell about The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus and the Beatles' Let It Be).

Sep 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

Nights and Weekends

His name may not be instantly recognizable, but writer/director Michael Lindsay-Hogg has a fascinating story to tell—a true story that travels from Hollywood to Broadway and across the pond, spiced up with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll and filled with mystery.

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https://blogcritics.org

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Michael Lindsay-Hogg was known to me, before Luck and Circumstance, as a director who worked with t...

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http://annistonstar.com

Michael Lindsay-Hogg might not be a name that is readily recognizable, but the man has been part of our lives for more than a quarter-century.

Nov 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Luck and Circumstance: A Comi...

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