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Charles Higham (International) assertion Charles Higham i(A22054 works by)
Born: Established: 18 Feb 1931 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 21 Apr 2012 Los Angeles, California,
United States of America (USA),

Gender: Male
Visitor assertion Arrived in Australia: 1954 Departed from Australia: 1970
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The son of Sir Charles Higham, the first advertising man to be a member of the British Parliament and the first to be knighted, Charles Higham had published two books of verse before moving to Australia in 1954. He quickly established himself as a prominent book and film critic for the Sydney Morning Herald and, between 1964 and 1967, served as literary editor for the Bulletin magazine.

During the sixteen years Higham spent in Australia, he compiled several anthologies of horror writing by international authors such as Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sheridan Le Fanu, E. Nesbit, and Ambrose Bierce. Among his other publications was The Big Beat (1961), a collection of insights into prominent late-1950s rock and roll stars (including Elvis Presley, Fabian, Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Francis, and Australian performer Ted Hamilton). Higham published a further three volumes of poetry and edited several volumes of Australian writing before moving to the USA in 1970. While in America, he continued to write poetry as well as non-fiction works, specialising in film and film biographies. Some of the poetry he wrote in America continued to be influenced by his Australian experiences.

After moving to the United States, Higham became Regents Professor at the University of California, and while there, discovered the lost footage of It's All True, Orson Welles's uncompleted Latin American triptych. In his 1970 book The Films of Orson Welles (and later in Orson Welles: The Rise and Fall of an American Genius, 1985), Higham controversially alleges that Welles suffered from a 'fear of completion,' which led to him abandoning projects when they were nearly finished in order to be able to blame others for their flaws. The book saw Higham accorded a full-page spread in Newsweek and led to him being employed by the New York Times as its Hollywood feature writer.

Among Higham's later publications are his bestseller Kate (1975), the first authorised biography of Katharine Hepburn, followed by biographies of Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Mrs Simpson (the Duchess of Windsor), Howard Hughes, Jennie Churchill (mother of Winston Churchill), Cary Grant, and Merle Oberon. He has also written a biography of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (Elizabeth and Philip: The Untold Story); Sisters, about the legendary feud between actresses Olivia De Havilland and Joan Fontaine; Trading with the Enemy: The Nazi American Money Plot 1933-1949, which detailed U.S. industry's links with Nazi Germany; and Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery (regarding the death of William Desmond Taylor). In 1980, Higham published the controversial biography Errol Flynn: The Untold Story. His allegations that Flynn was a bisexual fascist sympathiser who spied for the Nazis both before and during World War II and had affairs with Tyrone Power, Howard Hughes, and Truman Capote have since been denounced as fabrications by several other biographers.

In 2009, Higham published his autobiography, In and Out of Hollywood: A Biographer's Memoir, in which he talks of the molestation he suffered at the hands of his stepmother and reveals that he married his wife despite becoming increasingly aware of his homosexuality.

Most Referenced Works


Last amended 8 May 2012 10:24:19
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