Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Archive Book Review • STARK NAKED • Graham Stark • 2003

Stark Naked: The Autobiography of Graham Starkstarknaked

‘Always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ might have been a more apt title for Graham Stark’s autobiography, Stark Naked, the story of his life in theatre, film, radio and television. The book displays his lack of rancour about the profession and betrays few regrets. It bears witness to a world where stardom may be relished by many but enjoyed by few of its participants.

Born and brought up on Merseyside between the two World Wars, this third and youngest son of a ship’s purser and a doting mother with theatrical aspirations, Stark’s two life-long obsessions — theatre and photography — have worked in parallel and sometimes in tandem.

Even before attending RADA, he had worked as a child actor and dancer in several productions, although his first official engagement was in that old war-horse of British theatre, the pantomime. His comic abilities were revealed in a production of Shakespeare’s Scottish play, where he played Macduff’s son, managing to elicit titters from the audience. One could say that Stark’s face has been his fortune, taking him from ENSA to The Return of the Pink Panther, and beyond.

Stark gives little away about his emotional life and his family, although they do figure, making this most definitely a life in showbiz. Being a character actor has allowed him to taste stardom without the loss of anonymity. False noses, wigs and hats have all enabled him to lead a somewhat charmed life prompting John Lennon to question Stark’s existence.

Lennon and the other Beatles are just some of the many leading lights of cinema, music and theatre that Stark has bumped into, starred alongside or had the pleasure of meeting throughout his eighty years. That he has also managed to capture them in black and white for his photographic collection, some of which are included, away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi or the film editor, just shows how lucky he has been during such a lengthy career.

One of his longest friendships was with that most mercurial of comic actors, Peter Sellers. From their days in the army during the Second World War through the Goons and on to the international movie stardom that saw Sellers cut adrift from normality, Stark has some particular insights.

Perhaps Stark Naked lacks depth — though the author is fairly opinionated — but the anecdotes are enough to keep the reader’s eyes glued to the page. Whether it is about being best man when Peter Sellers married Britt Ekland or describing Julie Andrews in her Moroccan stand-off, this is a must-read for the true film buff.

Howard Watson © 2003

Originally published n R&V 09-09-03

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Food & Wine

Coffee fuels my photography!

~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~

Polly's Paper Studio

Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design

Life on La Lune

A journey through life in Southwest France

Vanessa Couchman

Historical Fiction with a French Flavour

Disability & Determination

It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me

Nicholas Andriani Rankin

Academic, Cultural Critic, & Narrative Designer: Researching Fandom Through Literature, Folklore, Game Studies, Pop Culture & Visual Media. Instructional Designer.

Joe Ruggiero at Home

Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Genealogy Jude

Unlocking the Door to Your Past


by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

S.O.U.L. S-P-A-C-E

Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary

The Lady Sews

Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive


Defending Scientism


has random thoughts

Criminal Historian

Working with dead people


Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!


the darker side to sedge808

Off Center & Not Even

Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact:

Reina Cottier Art

Creative Intuitive from New Zealand

Tenafly Road

Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris


Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!

Etan Smallman

Freelance journalist

Assemblage Art

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Candia Comes Clean

Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder


Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More

The Wandering Empath

Traveling the World Through Others

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.


Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Judith Barrow

Writer & Author

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...


Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields

Life in Russia

The Bridge between two countries

London Life With Liz

A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Alex Raphael

Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog

Teagan's Books

Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling

%d bloggers like this: