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John Buckmaster

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Category: Vivien Leigh
Reference No: 10559
Status: Available
Price: £30.00
  John Buckmaster  John Buckmaster

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British stage actor.

Buckmaster was the son of actress Gladys Cooper and Herbert Buckmaster, the founder of “Buck”, an exclusive St.James club for gentlemen, and inventor of the Buck’s Fizz.

He was extremely handsome, an expert tennis player and a sophisticated man and around 1935 he met the young Vivien Leigh, then married to Leigh Holman.

Holman, a rather dry solicitor, intensely disliked social events, so Buckmaster frequently acted as her escort. He soon became more than her escort.

Vivien Leigh had a high libido and her sexual needs were probably not being met by Holman. The idea of cheating on him apparently didn’t cause her any sense of guilt.

John Buckmaster, in addition to being her first extra-marital lover (there were many more) was dining with her one fateful night at the Savoy Grill when Laurence Olivier and his wife, Jill Esmond, were seated nearby. Olivier came over as they were leaving and invited them to a party that weekend. This was the beginning of their famous romance.

Alexander Walker’s biography, Vivien, reports that in 1953 David Niven and Stewart Granger approached Vivien’s house in Hollywood when she was in the grip of a severe bout of manic depression.

As the two men marched together into the house, their first sight was of Buckmaster, naked except for a towel, defending Vivien’s bedroom door like a High Priest making his last stand before the infidels come to ravish his earthly goddess. Declaring that he represented a higher power – and probably flexing his muscles to indicate their source – Granger ordered him to “get the hell out”. To their relief he did so and was driven back to his bungalow at the Garden of Allah, from where Granger called a doctor”.

Buckmaster committed suicide in a psychiatric hospital in 1983, having been confined there since 1960.

This is a listing of two signed and self-typed letters to a Mr Sawyer, who was clearly planning the publication of a collection of poetry chosen by celebrities. Buckmaster is delighted that some of his poetry will be included.
"The Island of Manisses was written long enough ago to have gone somewhat from my mind until my mother* kindly suggested it  as her choice for your anthology. A biassed selection perhaps! It will be among strong poetic company, but if you feel it will hold its place, I am particularly glad that it finds publication at this time."

There are correspondence folds, light handling dings and some small areas of paperclip damage but general condition of the two letters is good. RARE.

* Gladys Cooper.