‘With his biographies of Sybil Thorndike and John Gielgud, Jonathan Croall stakes a serious claim to be the most notable theatrical biographer of the day.’ – Brian McFarlane, Australian Book Review

From Silent Film Idol to Superman - Croall

From Silent Film Idol to Superman: The Life and Career of John Stuart

McFarland Publishing

A popular romantic actor, with a fan club rivalling that of Ivor Novello, he starred in films directed by Alfred Hitchcock and G.W.Pabst, and acted opposite stars such as Madeleine Carroll, Elissa Landi, Gracie Fields, Fay Compton, Conrad Veidt and Basil Rathbone. He was also the first actor to speak on screen in Britain. Yet despite a career lasting nearly six decades, his name and achievement are little known today.

Based on his films and his family archive, this is a detailed account of an actor who made a significant contribution to the British film world in the twentieth century.

‘John Stuart was an exceptionally good actor – just about the best we had in those early years.’
Kevin Brownlow, film historian

‘You were one of my boyhood heroes.’
David Lean, film director

‘His story embraces that of the British screen between the wars.’
Dilys Powell film critic


Sybil Thorndike: A Star of Life

Haus Publishing
Out of print

‘A riveting and wonderfully sympathetic account of a great actress and a remarkable woman, which vividly captures her life offstage as well as in the theatre.’ – Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist

‘Jonathan Croall’s handsomely produced and meticulously researched biography reminds us of the rich and glorious life of a great actress and a hugely attractive human being…its subject’s charm and vitality radiate such illuminating force.’ – Rupert Christiansen, Literary Review

John Gielgud

John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star

Bloomsbury Publishing

‘John Gielgud was all light and humour, the most mercurial of men, and the most poetic of actors: Jonathan Croall is perfectly tuned in to every one of his qualities.’ – David Hare

‘A huge new overview that will surely become definitive.’ – Francis Beckett, New Statesman

‘Thank you for the book, a glorious tome. JG would be very proud.’ – Ronald Harwood 

‘Jonathan Croall’s book gives an authentic flavour of the real Gielgud.’ – Richard Eyre