Inside Trader, by Trader Faulkner, hardback by Quartet Books

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TRADER Faulkner, the Australian-born actor with the unforgettable name, has produced an autobiography full of fascinating gossip about the golden years of the British stage.

Born Ronald Faulkner in 1927, he was the only child of John Faulkner, a handsome, but boozy star of early Australian films, and his wife, Sheila Whytock, a former dancer in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

Faulkner’s nickname of “Trader” came as a boy, after he was caught stealing bottles of his father’s bootleg whisky, which he then bartered for marbles.

After moving to London in 1950, he auditioned for a play directed by John Gielgud, who dismissed the name Ronald as “dreary” and rhapsodised over “Trader”.

The nickname took over permanently. Trader achieved Stratford and West End success, appeared in films, and later branched out into flamenco dancing and writing.

In this funny, moving and sometimes spicy book, many famous names pop up.

There are riveting vignettes about Laurence Olivier, his wife, Vivien Leigh, and her lover, Australian actor Peter Finch, about whom Trader later wrote a biography.

Anthony Looch