John Lahr’s stunning and complex biography of his father, the legendary actor and comedian Bert Lahr
Notes on a Cowardly Lion is John Lahr’s masterwork: an all-encompassing biography of his father, the comedian and performer Bert Lahr. Best known as the Cowardly Lion in MGM’s classic The Wizard of Oz, Lahr was a consummate artist whose career spanned burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway, and Hollywood. While he could be equally raucous and polished in public, Lahr was painfully insecure and self-absorbed in private, keeping his family at arm’s length as he quietly battled his inner demons.
Told with an impressive objectivity and keen understanding of the construction—and destruction—of the performer, Notes on a Cowardly Lion is more than one man’s quest to understand his father; it is an extraordinary examination of a life in American show business.