Beaton in the Sixties: More unexpurgated diaries by Cecil Beaton
The 1960s contains some of the very best set pieces, including Churchill's funeral. He has just completed making the film, My Fair Lady, which included rows with the director George Cukor, Rex Harrison's fondness for watching live sex, Cukor on Audrey Hepburn's figure etc. (Cecil was also the master at slicing up Hollywood social life at that period. He loathed it). His partner Kin, who has spent a year with him in England, returns to the USA, leaving Cecil to loneliness - but not for long. He is soon travelling aboard Cecile de Rothschild's yacht with Garbo - his former lover - as a fellow traveller. He visits Picasso at his home, the Rolling Stones in Marrakech; Andy Warhol in New York. Here is the young David Hockney, Peter Sellers being beastly, Paul Getty being mean. Cecil is fascinated by this new generation testing the boundaries as he and his friends had done in the 1920s. Friendships remain important - the Avons, Lady Juliet Duff, Lady Diana Cooper, Mrs Heinz. He also sees off all younger competition as photographer royal and as in the previous volume there are some very funny and often very pointed entries about the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Marina, Princess Margaret etc. Roy Strong, the extrovert young director, puts on a massive retrospective of Beaton's work at the National Portrait Gallery. Then, in 1969, Cecil endures a miserable phase (described in detail) working on Coco with Katharine Hepburn, bringing us to the point where The Unexpurgated Beaton took the story into the new decade. The diaries are as lively, if not livelier, than the ones for the 1970s.