British journalist Gabriel Hershman (Strolling Player: The Life and Career of Albert Finney) has written an authorized biography of actor Nicol Williamson, a two-time Tony nominee and two-time Drama Desk Winner.
Noted for his Shakespearean performances, Williamson earned worldwide acclaim for his portrayal as a self-hating lawyer in John Osborne's Inadmissable Evidence. Osborne would go on to call Williamson "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando."
But Williamson had a reputation for his heavy drinking, which led to theatrics both on and off the stage. He is famously said to have punched producer David Merrick during the Philadelphia tryout of Inadmissable Evidence, explaining that he did so because the Tony-winning producer had it coming to him. Williamson slapped his fellow Broadway actor Jim Litten during curtain call for 1976's Rex after seeing Litten speaking to someone during Williamson's bow. Williamson also hit co-star Evan Handler with a sword during a performance of I Hate Hamlet on Broadway.
In Black Sheep, Hershman tells the story of the actor who achieved great success in his career, but was burnt out by the age of 60. According to Hershman, a premature end was all but inevitable for the wild artist.
Black Sheep: The Authorised Biography of Nicol Williamson will be published by The History Press May 1. The book is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.