Catherine Schell has lived a life more dramatic and colourful than any of her many acting roles. Her story sweeps from her birth during an Allied bombing raid in Budapest to life under postwar Russian occupation, escape, and life as a refugee in Austria; a strict convent school life in America; and on to Germany, where she became an actress.
Whilst international fame would follow through roles in the James Bond and Pink Panther franchises as well as the iconic role of Maya in popular sci-fi series Space: 1999, the story off camera is altogether more human and real. An abusive husband, her father's surrender to Alzheimer's, her brother's paranoid schizophrenia, and a dominant and passionate mother all play their parts in her tale. Told engagingly and with warmth, there are highs and lows, laughter and tears, and lessons learnt as a survivor...in a life where she has been A Constant Alien.
Having been a fan of actress Catherine Schell since the mid-1970s, the book I was expecting paled in comparison to the supreme accomplishment Ms. Schell delivered. While her professional exploits and stories of her cast members and so on were wonderful, classy, and dignified, the real draw here was a complete surprise. Ms. Schell's life is fascinating, from her childhood with the family escaping the Nazis to the present day. Highly, highly recommended, and a real pleasure to hear the actress narrating her own story. Regal class and elegance. Those qualities have always surrounded Ms. Schell, and they're here in abundance. Reading the book would be wonderful, but hearing the book in Ms. Schell's own words and voice added so much to the experience.
Sadly, many will never know the bounty we have here. They may not know the actress or her work, but her life story alone would be a fascinating read for anyone.
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Where does A Constant Alien rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I love autobiographies. But this ranks as one of the best.
What other book might you compare A Constant Alien to, and why?
William Shatner. Michael Cain. Alan Alda. I've listened to many an actor's retrospectives. All great. But this book immediately plugs into a totally honest rich tapestry of integrity and history. It's right back in there emotionally, rather than clinically dissecting from afar.
Which character – as performed by Catherine Schell – was your favourite?
Catherine - or Katarina herself! An honest - lesson learning - opened sleeved lady.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Absolutely. Lunch breaks at work. Soaking in a bathtub. Surfing the internet. This was a jolly good compelling audio autobiography!
Any additional comments?
Buy it! You'll be surprised. As an actress, many productions in hindsight didn't do Catherine Schell a true justice. But as Katarina - the Hungarian - German fluent - English retrospective writer - you'll absolutely adore and love her!