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The stories according to Frank Harris

25 June, 2020

How Vanity Fair portrayed Frank Harris in 1913

• I READ with interest Neil Titley’s piece on the “notorious liar” Frank Harris, (Pants on fire? Review, June 11).

Writer and editor, Harris, claimed to have been born in Ireland, the son of a Welsh sea captain. Well he couldn’t be the son of a humble deck-hand, could he? He acquired a North American accent!

His origins were as unreliable as his claims, such as his story of working on the Brooklyn bridge in “incredible heat” – that forced an editorial note to be inserted into his autobiography stating that he confused his Centigrade with his Fahrenheit!

Hollywood director, Delmer Daves, made a Western in 1957 based on Harris’s mendacious reminiscences. It was called Cowboy and starred Jack Lemmon as our erstwhile hero.

It tells the tale of a hotel clerk (Harris) who joins a 2,000-mile cattle drive from Chicago to the Rio Grande in the 1870s. The film received favourable reviews, unlike his notorious autobiography My Life and Loves.

Prebend Street, N1


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