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The Life in My Years
Virginia McKenna pushed aside her successful career in film and stage, and she has since spent her life working with the Born Free Foundation and for the plight of orphaned children across the world.
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Virginia McKenna starred in some of the most popular and enduring movies of our time, among them Carve Her Name With Pride, A Town Like Alice and Born Free, in which she played opposite her husband, Bill Travers. After Born Free both actors were at the peak of their careers, but the film and all it still stands for changed their lives. Its powerful message stayed with them, and so began a worldwide campaign to save animals from commercial exploitation, "imprisonment" in zoos and loss of their natural habitat.
At the heart of this book is a cry for change in attitude - to respect nature and all that it provides. Virginia McKenna has pushed aside the glamour of movie stardom, the West End and Broadway where she starred in major shows like The King and I and A Little Night Music. Instead she focuses relentlessly on her personal mission with the Born Free Foundation or the plight of orphaned children across the world.
Through the prism of memory a lifetime of experiences, ecstatic, amusing or tragic have flooded back in the form of anecdotes, meditations and poems to form this book.
This book will inspire anyone who cares about the future of the planet and all the creatures dependent on it, including human beings.
Part of the proceeds from each book sold will go to support Born Free Foundation campaigns.
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Virginia McKenna is perhaps best known for her role as Joy Adamson in Born Free, one of many films she made with her late husband Bill Travers. A leading British star of the 1950s and a60s, her other films include Carve Her Name with Pride, A Town Like Alice, The Smallest Show on Earth and Ring of Bright Water. Her stage career has ranged from Perdita in Peter Brookas 1951 production of A Winteras Tale to Gertrude in the RSCas Hamlet in 1984. In the 1970s she starred in West End productions of the musicals A Little Night Music and The King and I (opposite Yul Brynner). Bill and Virginia started Zoo Check in 1984 with their eldest son, Will, after the premature death of Pole Pole, an elephant they had come to know during the filming of An Elephant Called Slowly eighteen years before. Pole Pole had been captured from the wild by the then Kenya Government as a gift to London Zoo. Zoo Check later became the registered charity the Born Free Foundation. Virginia has travelled extensively over the years visiting zoos about which the Born Free Foundation has received complaints. Wherever possible, she accompanies rescued big cats to Born Freeas sanctuaries in India and South Africa. Virginiaas books include Into the Blue (1992), Some of my Friends Have Tails (1971) and On Playing with Lions (1966), which she co-wrote with Bill. She was also a contributor to Beyond the Bars: the Zoo Dilemma (1987). She has four children, nine grandchildren and a great-grandson.