Portrait by Michael Corkrey
courtesy of Guy Hart
|Just The One
The Wives and Times of Jeffrey Bernard
1992 - Sinclair-Stevenson - UK hardback
1993 - Headline - UK paperback
1997 - Headline - UK paperback updated after Bernard's death
“One of the most thoroughly researched biographical enquiries I have read. It's all here, booze, women, Norman Balon, horses, ‘No-knickers Joyce’, booze, and finally fame of a sort a writer rarely achieves in his lifetime” – Patrick Marnham, The Oldie
“I wanted it to be longer. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting and laughed out loud and often” – Paul Pickering, Sunday Times
“A gripping and unsentimental biography...an astonishing achievement” – Irma Kurtz
A biography of the legendary bohemian British journalist, drinker and womaniser whose rackety life was immortalised on the London West End stage by Peter O'Toole in Keith Waterhouse’s award-winning play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and in later productions by Tom Conti, James Bolam, O’Toole again and Dennis Waterman.
Bernard, who died in 1997, was a most unlikely hero of our times. What other bottle-of-vodka-and-50-cigarettes-a-day scribbler has also been a gigolo, navvy, fairground boxer, miner, stagehand, film editor and actor? Who else has been married four times, seduced 500 lovers (including several famous actresses) and become a personal friend of the novelists Graham Greene and Alice Thomas Ellis, the painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the jockeys Lester Piggott and Fred Winter, the actors Tom Baker, John Hurt, John le Mesurier and Wendy Richard?
Bernard was compared to Pepys and Boswell, had a racehorse named after him, and was described by his admirer John Osborne as “the Tony Hancock of journalism.” He was convicted of shoplifting, tax-dodging and assaulting a rubber-plant and wrote regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines from the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Queen and Men Only to The Sporting Life and his famous ‘Low Life’ diary column in The Spectator – his notorious ‘suicide note in weekly instalments.’
Graham Lord was a friend of Bernard’s for twenty years and interviewed dozens of his other friends – and enemies – to write a biography that is fun, frank and critical yet unexpectedly touching. Jeffrey Bernard was indeed unique – just the one.