An Interview With Leslie’s Mother (1938)

Lilian Steiner (née Blumberg) was Leslie Howard’s biggest fan, that’s for sure. She was extremely proud of her handsome, glamorous, talented, successful son. She had always been persuaded of Leslie’s gifts, even when he was only a shy boy, “the shyest person imaginable.” She encouraged him to follow his artistic aspirations, and played the leading lady in his first theatrical experiments.

This interview, published in Film Pictorial (April 30, 1938), introduces a new image of Leslie Howard. We can look at this gifted and eclectic artist with his mother’s eyes. She firmly believed that he would have become a best-selling writer if he had not been “side-tracked.” He seemed good at anything he took up: writing plays and novels, painting, acting, taking photographs, playing polo… I am surprised that she did not mention Leslie’s musical ear. And I have found the announcement that he had just began an autobiography extremely interesting, because I have always missed the history of Leslie’s life I would really care to read: the one written by himself.

Lilian passed away in July 1939, at 69. It was a hard blow for Leslie, who had always been very close to his mother. I wish to say thank you, Lilian. Thanks for supporting your beloved son as only a devoted mother can do.

Lilian Steiner


Read the interview: Leslie Howard–By His Mother