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Leaving college in the 1950s, Colin Clark got a job as a gofer on the London set of a new motion picture called The Prince and the Showgirl. It was no ordinary production: Uniting Britain's premier classical actor, Sir Laurence Olivier (also the director), with Hollywood's ultimate sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, it should have been a box office smash. But even before cameras rolled, things started going wrong - and twenty-three-year-old Clark, tiptoeing among clashing egos, saw it all.
Every night, after twelve hours on the set, he went home and recorded the day's events in his diary, recalling scuffles, arguments - as well as his own intrigues of the heart - in a daily fly-on-the-wall chronicle. Olivier was bent on acquiring a new and exciting image; Marilyn desperately wanted to be regarded as a serious actress. Neither star understood the other, and the dream cast soon became a nightmare. Marilyn, on her honeymoon with playwright Arthur Miller, was constantly hounded by the fawning of her acting coach, Paula Strasberg. Olivier, exasperated by her inability to remember lines or even show up on time, ended up giving perhaps the worst performance of his career. From his lowly but privileged position, Colin Clark saw it all first-hand.