It was Winging It that caused me so much trouble in deciding what to do with Jimmy’s literary legacy. The big question was: Is it fiction—a novel—or is it autobiography? I paid a lot of money to an investigative journalist to find the answer to that question and this is what he said: The overall conclusion is that your brother’s book is autobiography and not fiction; it is, essentially, his version of what actually happened. His truth, if you like. But journalists learn to be sceptical around that word, “truth.” One person’s account of what happened may not tally with the story as told by someone else who was there. Neither of them is—necessarily—lying; people see events and motivations differently.
Well, that really moves us forward, doesn’t it? In the end I decided that Jimmy’s story was as true as anything a Hollywood actor ever says and there was enough public interest here to publish it—starting with the moment when Jimmy tried to persuade the BBC to end Jimmy Savile’s career and they ended his instead. Even today, so long after the event, I imagine they’d have liked to keep that quiet. Here’s the blurb:
Another movie star’s memoir saying how wonderful everyone has been? Not quite. Jimmy Carlton leaves a successful career with the BBC for an actor’s life in Hollywood where he becomes a household name and a rich man. But Jimmy has a past his fans know nothing about and Winging It shows us his life with total honesty. He is frank about the men and women he meets in Hollywood: the (male) producer who trades a movie contract for a night with Jimmy; the virginal goddess film star who insiders know to be a nymphomaniac; the all-action male who always gets the girl in the last reel but with whom Jimmy has a passionate gay relationship. Then Jimmy comes as near to death as it’s possible to do without ending up in a mortuary. If that really was the face of God he saw as life seemed to be ebbing away then everything has to change. But was it?