Well, it's three years to the day since I first set eyes on the manuscript of Sebastian's memoirs, visiting his nephew Geoffrey. I was intrigued to hear that they existed at all, as I was curious about my famous actor cousin. I took the fat wad of paper home, and next day began to read them.
Pretty soon that soft 'on edge' feeling I have when looking over unpublished work (usually unpublished poetry) disappeared, and I could relax and enjoy the tale! This is the sign of good art: when the thing stands alone and it doesn't matter who made it. Poem, photo, book, sculpture - the thing must be worth more than person who made it. There was no coy "Aw, these memoirs are by my cousin-who-was-in-Star-Wars, let's publish them!" sort of thing - Goodness, spare me from gooey sentiment like that! The problem was, though, that the manuscript (this one at least) ended with the first air raid of World War 2. Expressing my disappointment to Geoffrey, he said he did think he had something else. The something else turned out to be an untyped manuscript, in Sebastian's own shaky handwriting. This led up to 1943 or so. Another treasure, but not The Main Thing.
However, I had the idea that we could complete Sebastian's life story from the other direction as it were, and I wrote off to people I know he knew to ask for their own memories of him. Very quickly Sir Ben Kingsley responded. I am truely touched by this, and SBK has been very supportive - turns out he and Sebastian were good friends back in the day.
Slowly more and more people came forward with their memories of Sebastian, and his greatest fan, Susanna Kolar got in touch. Her research into Sebastian over the last 20 years laid the foundation for The List of Appearances. And I located Sebastian's own memory of being Darth/Anakin, taken from an interview published in the now defunct 'Starlog Magazine'. The project was a go-er!
Now it is a beautiful book for you to enjoy: lots of behind the scenes as readers meet a grumpy WH Auden, Sebastian as a smooth Othello, a wistful hero, beautiful young man.
And I hope you do, or have, enjoyed it. At least his record is 'out there' now. Any time anyone posts a comment on a Star Wars fan site, the proof of his suitability - and why he was chosen for the role - is now in the public domain. He led an interesting life, not one I entirely agree with to be honest, but we are all the richer for having met him. As it happens he really was - for me and for many others - a father for those of us who needed one.