Read Many Lives Online

Authors: Stephanie Beacham

Tags: #Memoir

Many Lives

BOOK: Many Lives
13.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

© Stephanie Beacham, 2011

The moral rights of the author have been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic or electronic process, or in the form of a phonographic recording; nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or otherwise be copied for public or private use, other than for ‘fair use' as brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews, without prior written permission of the publisher.

The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In the event you use any of the information in this book for yourself, which is your constitutional right, the author and the publisher assume no responsibility for your actions.

Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders of images in this book. The publishers apologize in advance for any unintentional omissions, and will be pleased to insert the appropriate acknowledgments in any subsequent editions of this publication.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84850-595-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84850-829-3
epub ISBN: 978-1-84850-681-7
Mobipocket ISBN: 978-1-84850-680-0

A Foreword from Jude

I think that my ‘Glamma' is a hard-working, thoughtful and loving grandma. The most loved being to a grandson, as she well knows. But because of her heart, she is making it through life well-mannered, wise, and smart to become not just an outstanding actress, but also an amazing grandma. I usually spend time with her in Malibu, but because of this book there have been quite a few twists. She wakes up at 4 a.m. to write it. She looks like a monster in the morning: swamp green skin, tired eyes and witch-like hair. It is giving me nightmares, but usually she is one of the most glamorous people I've ever seen. I love her with all my heart, and when you read this book you will, too. This is Stephanie Beacham's many lives.

Jude Penny (age 11)

Jude, photographed by Judy Geeson


This is an excellent autobiography, enjoyable to read, beautifully observed and intelligently written with three streams. There is the great actress of stage and screen, the devoted mother and the perfect textbook on how to apply spiritual love in everyday material life.

Like millions of others I have for many years admired Stephanie's performances in all forms of the art, though, admittedly, have often been distracted by her beauty.

When I was told that she would be coming into
Coronation Street
to have a relationship with my alter ego I was absolutely thrilled, over the moon, but also a little nervous. She had done it all – acted with the greats and was a totally dedicated, through-and-through professional. She also had a reputation as a no-nonsense actress, which is something I respect.

We started filming by the canal in the freezing cold. My dog was supposed to fall in the water and Stephanie would rescue her from her barge. The film crew had to break the ice,
and then realized that it would be too cold for the dog. So they tried throwing in a stuffed one, but it looked ridiculous and everyone burst out laughing. We got on well. I immediately felt safe with Stephanie – there was something reassuring and comforting about her.

A replica of the barge was built for the interior scenes and we thought at least we would be warm, but no, it was built in a prefabricated building with no heating. So between scenes a little warm room was found for us, and there we sat, ran our lines and talked.

I loved talking to her about the people she had worked with, especially Marlon Brando, with whom she became great friends. Stephanie told me about her daughters and her grandson. I could tell from what she said that she was the rock of her family, how much she loved them and that they were her life. I could see how strong she was, and how calm. We would all count ourselves lucky to have someone like that looking after us.

I was pleased that she could tell me about these things and the time we had together was gentle. Although we never actually talked about our mutual spiritual understanding, it was eloquently expressed.

In performance she was brilliant. Absolutely there, and all I had to do was respond. I felt totally relaxed when acting with her, enjoying her dedication, truthfulness and generosity.

Then tragedy struck. Sara, my wife, who was my rock and did everything for me, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Filming stopped and I was away for three weeks. When I came back, it was too early and I was still feeling raw, but I did not want to keep everyone waiting. At that time, in the state that I was in,
I could think of no better person to be with than Stephanie. She helped me just by her presence, and the quiet way in which we carried on with our scenes. I believe that everything is meant to be and, as Stephanie says in the book, we were there for each other in those difficult times.

Stephanie is a very spiritual person – she is psychic and knows about angels and fairies, but she is also totally grounded. She knows when and how to bring these things into the physical world to help ease the way. These are difficult things to express but she does so simply, and in a common sense way.

She writes in a clear, straightforward manner that is a delight to read. What she has to say about her life is fascinating and intriguing, and what she has to say about philosophy and spiritual matters is a lesson to us all.

When a good person writes a good book, and writes it well, we are entertained whilst receiving great truths. This is such a book.

William Roache MBE


Having been on this planet for nearly 65 years, I want to capture in words a few morsels of a rip-roaring roller-coaster ride of a life before short-term memory loss or some other excuse stops me. Writing a book had crossed my mind briefly at the turn of the millennium. In the preceding few years my parents had grown old and died in front of my eyes. I'd become an orphan and my priorities had changed. As my mother had approached the end of her life, it became far more important for me to speak to her every day than it was to be in a hit television series. Then in 2000 I became a grandmother. I moved out of the city and back to the coast and decided finally to give up on men. I retired to the seaside and got a dog.

But the book didn't happen and I just gave up men for a while, because then I met Bernie. Perhaps I'd thought the ride was going to slow down, but it had too much momentum and happiness can arrive at any age.

During the Noughties I did some of my best theatre:
A Busy Day
Elizabeth Rex
Master Class
, all with Jonathan Church
directing. I toured the UK with Simon Williams in his
Nobody's Perfect
, and Sir Peter Hall's name was on the
Hay Fever
poster but I don't think he even came to see it. I worked on four films and parts in two filmed series, and did
Bad Girls
Coronation Street
Strictly Come Dancing
Celebrity Big Brother
, to name just a few of the umpteen things I did for television. Not a very convincing retirement. I'm a grafter and I don't stop and probably never will. As for my poor dog, I got another one to keep her company.

I fell in love with the theatre and acting as a teenager and, nearly half a century later, the love affair continues. I still find the whole process of putting on a production fascinating. Michael Winner once said to me, ‘My dear, nobody needs the film industry except the film industry.' I don't think that's true. Theatre, films, music and all the arts are capable of nourishing the soul and opening the heart. Mankind needs that food. I need that food and I feel very blessed that I've been allowed to join in and play.

Everything I've done has been of its time. It's been a magical ride that only happened because I was born when I was. The war was over. It was the perfect time to be born – when it was safe to be a child. There was an innocence and a sense of freedom. I'm a product of that age.

I could have been the poster child for the 1950s, and the 1960s pointed me towards where I am today. In the 1970s I co-starred alongside a pair of screen legends, and then got blacklisted from Hollywood. The big characters I played on screen in the 1980s were totally of their time – Connie's hot-wired living and Sable Colby's shoulder pads. In the 1990s the buck stopped with me and my life changed emphasis, but without slowing down.

On the first night my parents moved into their marital home my mother cooked a chicken. She hadn't cooked one before and she left the giblets in. The next morning she was amazed because the servants hadn't cleared it all away. It took until it happened for her to realize that she didn't have servants. Just as I was a product of my time, she was a product of hers, but liberal and progressive rather than staid and oppressed. She made me believe I could do whatever I put my mind to, and supported me throughout.

I've tried to do the same for my children, being ever aware of the difficulties they faced having a mother with a public profile. I also had to struggle with the responsibilities of being a single parent. It's directed the professional choices I've made. I know I've done less good work than I could have done. I discovered that if I was playing really big roles, I wasn't able to be a good mum. I don't mean high camp Sable Colby. That was just lipstick thick; involving fabulous bitchy lines and Oscar Wilde delivery, but it wasn't emotionally draining. It was far more difficult to combine motherhood with deep and complex characters. So for the most part I didn't play them, until after the millennium.

After I was separated from my husband, John McEnery, at the end of the 1970s, I had a choice to make. I knew I only had energy for children and work, or I could go for children, a new husband and a little bit of work here and there. I would have lost my independence. I'd put my faith in that set-up once before and it hadn't worked. So I chose to make my life without a man; determinedly independent – foolishly independent, even.

As a child my favourite Ladybird Book had been
The Sly Fox and the Little Red Hen
. Throughout my life its positive line in women's independence has inspired me: ‘“Then I'll do it myself,”
said the Little Red Hen.' I grew up with second-wave feminism. I cherish my independence. I'm of my time.

But I'm not a serious person. I'm a lightweight. I'm a jackdaw who picks up shiny stones. I'm a spiritual bungee jumper. And I've got into some sticky scrapes that have meant I've had to develop a practical set of tools to get myself off the floor whenever I've been down. Earlier in my life there was an element of ‘seeking', but mainly because I had to find answers to help me solve my problems. Without the answers, and the toolkit I was able to develop with them, I would have sunk.

There have been a few moments when I've felt truly touched by God. I've seen the fabric of the universe and it's beautiful. More than anything, those moments set me on a spiritual search of greater depth. They made me realize that time is an irrelevance. I've no idea how long those moments lasted, whether minutes or seconds, but each sent ripples across the whole of my life, as if those moments have never ceased.

I'm a collector of joyful moments. The ticka-ticka ticka-ticka of a child's roller skates on paving stones is as good a mantra as any to lift the soul.

BOOK: Many Lives
13.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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