Martin Milnes Publishes Memoir 'Wild Card: How I Learned To Be A Friend, Have A Friend & Finally Love My Birthday'
Actor, Writer and Theatre Director Martin Milnes, best known as one half of musical theatre duo Ferris & Milnes, has struck a publishing deal for his memoir, Wild Card: How I Learned To Be A Friend, Have A Friend & Finally Love My Birthday. The paperback will be published on 12 March 2020 and it is now available by Amazon pre-order.
"This is a coming-of-age, coming-out, come-and-meet-me story that's by turns funny and touching, revelatory and heart-warming." Gyles Brandreth
Martin Milnes was born in the wrong era or at least that's how it seemed. As a child he wore jazz-shoes to his junior school disco, expecting eight-year-olds to Mambo like the dancers in West Side Story ... but childhood and school days were no Broadway musical. Birthdays, stingingly empty, held a horrific reminder that he possessed no talent for friendship. Yet once Martin emerged on stage, the jeering turned to cheering; the lonely void was filled by Hollywood stars of yesteryear, worshipped from afar.
When his world shattered, the stars were there for him; and this time in person. The last surviving veterans of a glamorous era extended their guiding hands. Centenarian swimming partners, D-Day hero drinking chums, and propositions from naughty nonagenarians became every-day normality and the wisdom, understanding and truths which they passed on completely transformed Martin's life, outlook and spirit. At last, with their help, the Wild Card learned how to be a friend and realised what a birthday truly represents. Not to mention, along the way, coming to terms with something which perhaps he should have recognised long ago...
Described by publishers Zuleika Books as a "poignant, uplifting memoir", Wild Card also provides a fascinating insight into the Golden Age of Film and Musical Theatre, with first-hand memories from those who were there ... Virginia Campbell lived to be 102 - she danced on Broadway with Gene Kelly, made Hollywood movies with Marilyn Monroe and Cecil B. DeMille, and inspired a character in Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Jean Bayless, the original West End 'Maria' in The Sound of Music, confides that in 1949 fellow chorus girl Audrey Hepburn "gave me my first pair of fishnets". Meanwhile, Carry On legend Fenella Fielding wistfully recalls "I took a brown bread sandwich out of my handbag and put half in each ear". Hollywood star Peggy Cummins told Martin "Charlie Chaplin hid in the boot of my car."
In addition, Martin grew close to veteran war heroes through his work with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust. As well as The Few, Wild Card readers meet Wing Commander Leonard Lambert, who escaped, by himself, from Dunkirk, before reclaiming the beaches of France as a Squadron Leader on D-Day.
Martin Milnes says, "To be asked by Tom Perrin of Zuleika to share my story has been not only a privilege but an enlightenment. I hope that Wild Card will speak to those who have similarly struggled to accept themselves; we all need to embrace and celebrate who we really are. My fabulous 'Golden Era' friends guided my path on the road to self-discovery. Now, in Wild Card, it's time to pass the baton ... and share with others the wisdom, generosity and truths of a remarkable generation, from which all ages can learn."
Tom Perrin, Publisher at Zuleika, says, "Martin's book is a lively romp through Carry On films, disastrous dates, Old Hollywood gossip, forging a 21st Century career-path, wartime heroism, snowstorms thwarting virginity loss, Gilbert & Sullivan, and an afternoon spent with a dominatrix! But it is also a powerful story of coming-of-age and a search for identity. I am excited and proud to have this on my list."
Martin Milnes is a London based actor, writer and theatre director. As musical theatre duo Ferris & Milnes, he has played Theatre Royal Drury Lane, New York's Lincoln Center, Ambassadors Theatre and at West End LIVE. Martin directed the first professional revival and re-discovery of Gilbert & Sullivan's final work The Grand Duke and collaborates regularly with the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, preserving the legacy of The Few. Also a lecturer in Musical Theatre and Film History, Martin's Instagram 'Story A Day' about Broadway and Hollywood birthdays, anniversaries and anecdotes can be followed @martinmilnes.