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John Osborne

John Osborne

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John James Osborne was an English playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

, screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, actor and critic of the Establishment
The Establishment
The Establishment is a term used to refer to a visible dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation. The term suggests a closed social group which selects its own members...

. The success of his 1956 play Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

transformed English theatre.

In a productive life of more than 40 years, Osborne explored many themes and genres, writing for stage, film and TV. His personal life was extravagant and iconoclastic. He was notorious for the ornate violence of his language, not only on behalf of the political causes he supported but also against his own family, including his wives and children.

Osborne was one of the first writers to address Britain's purpose in the post-imperial age. He was the first to question the point of the monarchy
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 on a prominent public stage. During his peak (1956–1966), he helped make contempt an acceptable and now even cliched onstage emotion, argued for the cleansing wisdom of bad behaviour and bad taste, and combined unsparing truthfulness with devastating wit.

Early life


Osborne was born in December 1929 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the son of Thomas Godfrey Osborne, a commercial artist and advertising copywriter
Copywriting
Copywriting is the use of words and ideas to promote a person, business, opinion or idea. Although the word copy may be applied to any content intended for printing , the term copywriter is generally limited to promotional situations, regardless of the medium...

 of South Welsh
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

 extraction, and Nellie Beatrice, a Cockney
Cockney
The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End...

 barmaid. He adored his father and hated his mother, who he later wrote taught him "The fatality of hatred … She is my disease, an invitation to my sick room", and described her as "hypocritical, self-absorbed, calculating and indifferent". Thomas died in 1941, leaving the young boy an insurance settlement which he used to finance a private education at Belmont College, a minor public school in Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

. He entered the school in 1943 but was expelled in the summer term of 1945 after whacking the headmaster, who had struck him for listening to a forbidden broadcast by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

. School Certificate was the only formal qualification he acquired, but he possessed a native intelligence.

After school, Osborne went home to his mother in London and briefly tried trade journalism
Trade journalism
Trade journalism reports on the movements and developments of the business world by way of articles or analysis. Trade journalism also refers to industry-specific news, such as exclusive focus on commodities or sectors...

. A job tutoring a touring company of junior actors introduced him to the theatre. He soon became involved as a stage manager
Stage management
Stage management is the practice of organizing and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organizing the production and coordinating communications between various personnel...

 and acting, joining Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton , a British actor and writer, is best known as the co-author of the play Epitaph for George Dillon with John Osborne....

's provincial touring company. Osborne tried his hand at writing plays, co-writing his first, The Devil Inside Him, with his mentor Stella Linden
Stella Linden
Stella Linden was an actress and writer, best known for mentoring playwright John Osborne. In the cinema industry, she is best remembered as the wife of actor Terrence Edward Duff—better known by his stage name Patrick Desmond—and for writing the film Two a Penny...

, who then directed it at the Theatre Royal in Huddersfield
Huddersfield
Huddersfield is a large market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England, situated halfway between Leeds and Manchester. It lies north of London, and south of Bradford, the nearest city....

 in 1950. Around this time he also married Pamela Lane. His second play Personal Enemy
Personal Enemy
Personal Enemy is a play by John Osborne and Anthony Creighton. It was written in 1954, prior to Osborne's 'big break' with Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956, and first performed in Harrogate in 1955...

was written with Anthony Creighton (with whom he later wrote Epitaph for George Dillon
Epitaph for George Dillon
Epitaph for George Dillon is an early John Osborne play, one of two he wrote in collaboration with Anthony Creighton . It was written before Look Back in Anger, the play which made Osborne’s career, but opened a year after in Oxford in 1957 and moved to London’s Royal Court theatre, where Look...

staged at the Royal Court
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

 in 1958). Personal Enemy was staged in regional theatres before he submitted Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

.

Look Back in Anger


Written in seventeen days in a deckchair on Morecambe pier where Osborne was performing in a creaky rep show called Seagulls over Sorrento, Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

was largely autobiographical, based on his time living, and arguing, with Pamela Lane in cramped accommodation in Derby
Derby
Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

 while she cuckold
Cuckold
Cuckold is a historically derogatory term for a man who has an unfaithful wife. The word, which has been in recorded use since the 13th century, derives from the cuckoo bird, some varieties of which lay their eggs in other birds' nests...

ed him with a local dentist. It was submitted to agents all over London and returned with great rapidity. In his autobiography, Osborne writes: "The speed with which it had been returned was not surprising, but its aggressive dispatch did give me a kind of relief. It was like being grasped at the upper arm by a testy policeman and told to move on". Finally it was sent to the newly-formed English Stage Company at London's Royal Court Theatre
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

. Formed by actor-manager and artistic director
Artistic director
An artistic director is the executive of an arts organization, particularly in a theatre company, that handles the organization's artistic direction. He or she is generally a producer and director, but not in the sense of a mogul, since the organization is generally a non-profit organization...

 George Devine
George Devine
George Alexander Cassady Devine CBE was an extremely influential theatrical manager, director, teacher and actor in London from the late 1940s until his death. He also worked in the media of TV and film.-Biography:...

, the company had seen its first three productions flop and urgently needed a success if it were to survive. Devine was prepared to gamble on this play because he saw in it a ferocious and scowling articulation of a new post-war spirit. Osborne was living on a leaky houseboat on the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 at the time with Creighton, stewing up nettle
Nettle
Nettles constitute between 24 and 39 species of flowering plants of the genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, with a cosmopolitan though mainly temperate distribution. They are mostly herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annual and a few are shrubby...

s from the riverbank to eat. So keen was Devine to contact Osborne that he rowed out to the boat to tell him he would like to make the play the fourth production to enter repertory
Repertory
Repertory or rep, also called stock in the United States, is a term used in Western theatre and opera.A repertory theatre can be a theatre in which a resident company presents works from a specified repertoire, usually in alternation or rotation...

. The play was directed by Tony Richardson
Tony Richardson
Cecil Antonio "Tony" Richardson was an English theatre and film director and producer.-Early life:Richardson was born in Shipley, Yorkshire in 1928, the son of Elsie Evans and Clarence Albert Richardson, a chemist...

 and starred Kenneth Haigh
Kenneth Haigh
Kenneth Haigh is a British actor. He played the central role of Jimmy Porter in the very first production of John Osborne's seminal play Look Back in Anger in 1956. His performance in a 1958 Broadway theatre production of that play so moved one young woman in the audience that she mounted the...

, Mary Ure
Mary Ure
Eileen Mary Ure was a Scottish actress of stage and film.-Early life:Born in Glasgow where she studied at the school of drama, Ure was the daughter of civil engineer Colin McGregor Ure and Edith Swinburne. She went to the independent Mount School in York and trained for the stage at the Central...

, and Alan Bates
Alan Bates
Sir Alan Arthur Bates CBE was an English actor, who came to prominence in the 1960s, a time of high creativity in British cinema, when he demonstrated his versatility in films ranging from the popular children’s story Whistle Down the Wind to the "kitchen sink" drama A Kind of Loving...

. It was George Fearon, a part-time press officer at the theatre, who invented the phrase "angry young man
Angry young men
The "angry young men" were a group of mostly working and middle class British playwrights and novelists who became prominent in the 1950s. The group's leading members included John Osborne and Kingsley Amis.The phrase was originally coined by the Royal Court Theatre's press officer to promote John...

". Fearon told Osborne that he disliked the play and feared it would be impossible to market.

In 1993, a year before his death, Osborne wrote that the opening night was "an occasion I only partly remember, but certainly with more accuracy than those who subsequently claimed to have been present and, if they are to be believed, would have filled the theatre several times over". Reviews were mixed. Most of the critics who attended the first night felt it was a failure, and it looked as if the English Stage Company was going to go into liquidation. The Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

, for example, called the play "a failure" and "a self-pitying snivel". But the following Sunday, Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Tynan
Kenneth Peacock Tynan was an influential and often controversial English theatre critic and writer.-Early life:...

 of The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

- the most influential critic
Critic
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...

 of the age - praised it to the skies: 'I could not love anyone who did not wish to see Look Back in Anger,' he wrote, "It is the best young play of its decade". Harold Hobson
Harold Hobson
Sir Harold Hobson was an influential English drama critic and author.He was born in Thorpe Hesley near Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England and read History at Oxford University. He was an assistant literary editor for the Sunday Times from 1944 and later became its drama critic...

 of The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

called Osborne "a writer of outstanding promise". During production, the married Osborne began a relationship with Mary Ure
Mary Ure
Eileen Mary Ure was a Scottish actress of stage and film.-Early life:Born in Glasgow where she studied at the school of drama, Ure was the daughter of civil engineer Colin McGregor Ure and Edith Swinburne. She went to the independent Mount School in York and trained for the stage at the Central...

, and would divorce his wife, Pamela Lane, to marry her in 1957. The play went on to be an enormous commercial success, transferring to the West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

 and to Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, touring to Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and in 1958 a film version was released with Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

 and Mary Ure in the leading roles. The play turned Osborne from a struggling playwright into a wealthy and famous angry young man and won him the Evening Standard Drama Award
Evening Standard Awards
The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955, are presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre. Sponsored by the Evening Standard newspaper, they are announced in late November or early December...

 as the most promising playwright of the year.

The Entertainer and into the 1960s


When he first saw Look Back in Anger, Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM was an English actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century. He married three times, to fellow actors Jill Esmond, Vivien Leigh, and Joan Plowright...

 was dismissive, viewing the play as unpatriotic and bad theatre, "a travesty on England". At the time, Olivier was making a film of Rattigan's The Prince and the Showgirl
The Prince and the Showgirl
The Prince and the Showgirl is a 1957 American film produced at Pinewood Studios starring Marilyn Monroe and co-starring Laurence Olivier who also served as director and producer.The film was released on 13 June 1957...

co-starring Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

, and she was accompanied to London by her then-husband Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible , and A View from the Bridge .Miller was often in the public eye,...

. Olivier asked the American dramatist what plays he might want to see in London. Based on its title, Miller suggested Osborne's work; Olivier tried to dissuade him, but the playwright was insistent and the two of them saw it together.

Miller found the play revelatory, and they went backstage to meet Osborne. Olivier was impressed by the American's reaction, and asked John Osborne to write him a play; John Heilpern suggests the great actor's about-face was due to a midlife crisis, Olivier seeking a new challenge after decades of success in Shakespeare and other classics, and fearful of losing his pre-eminence to this new kind of theatre. George Devine
George Devine
George Alexander Cassady Devine CBE was an extremely influential theatrical manager, director, teacher and actor in London from the late 1940s until his death. He also worked in the media of TV and film.-Biography:...

, artistic director of the Royal Court, sent Olivier the incomplete script of The Entertainer (1957, filmed
The Entertainer (film)
The Entertainer is a 1960 film adaptation of the stage play of the same name by John Osborne, which told the story of a failing third-rate music hall stage performer who tried to keep his career going even as his personal life fell apart....

 in 1959) and Olivier initially wanted to play Billy Rice, the lead character's decent elderly father. On seeing the finished script, he changed his mind and took the central role as failing music-hall performer Archie Rice, playing to great acclaim both at the Royal Court and then in the West End.

The Entertainer uses the metaphor of the dying music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 tradition and its eclipse by early rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 to comment on the moribund state of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and its eclipse by the power of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, something flagrantly revealed during the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 of November 1956 which elliptically forms the backdrop to the play. An experimental piece, The Entertainer was interspersed with vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 performances. Most critics praised the development of an exciting writing talent:
The words are Billy Rice's, though as with much of Osborne's work they could be said to represent his own sentiments, as with this quote from Look Back in Anger:
Following The Entertainer were The World of Paul Slickey (1959) a musical which satirizes the tabloid press, the unusual television documentary play A Subject of Scandal and Concern (1960) and the 1962 double bill Plays for England, comprising "The Blood of the Bambergs" and "Under Plain Covers".

Luther
Luther (play)
Luther is a 1961 play by John Osborne that explored the forces that were involved in the life of Martin Luther, one of the instigators of the Protestant Reformation. Osborne was influenced by Erik Erikson's book, Young Man Luther, which had been published three years prior in 1958. In the play,...

, depicting the life of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, the archetypal rebel of an earlier century, was first performed in 1961; it transferred to Broadway and won Osborne a Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

. Inadmissible Evidence
Inadmissible Evidence
Inadmissible Evidence is a play written by John Osborne in November 1964. It was also filmed in 1968.The protagonist of the play is William Maitland, a middle-aged English solicitor who has come to hate his entire life. Much of the play consists of lengthy monologues in which Maitland tells the...

was first performed in 1964. In between these plays, Osborne won an Oscar
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for his 1963 adaptation of Tom Jones
Tom Jones (film)
Tom Jones is a 1963 British adventure comedy film, an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling , starring Albert Finney as the titular hero. It was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular comedies of its time, winning four Academy Awards...

. A Patriot for Me
A Patriot for Me
A Patriot For Me is a 1965 play by the English playwright John Osborne, based on the true story of Alfred Redl. It was notable for being denied a licence for performance by the censor of the time....

(1965) drawing on the Austrian Redl
Alfred Redl
Alfred Redl was an Austrian officer who rose to head the counter-intelligence efforts of Austria-Hungary. He was one of the leading figures of pre-World War I espionage. His term in office was marked by innovation, and he used very high technology for the time to ensnare foreign intelligence...

 case, is a tale of turn-of-the-century homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 and espionage which helped to end
Theatres Act 1968
The Theatres Act 1968 abolished censorship of the stage in the United Kingdom.Since 1737, scripts had been licensed for performance by the Lord Chamberlain's Office a measure initially introduced to protect Walpole's administration from political satire...

 (along with Saved
Saved (play)
Saved is a play written by Edward Bond, and was first produced at the Royal Court Theatre in November 1965. It was originally enacted privately, under "club" auspices, since the play was initially censored due largely to the infamous 'stoning of a baby' scene.The play itself is set in London during...

by Edward Bond
Edward Bond
Edward Bond is an English playwright, theatre director, poet, theorist and screenwriter. He is the author of some fifty plays, among them Saved , the production of which was instrumental in the abolition of theatre censorship in the UK...

) the system of theatrical censorship
Censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 under the Lord Chamberlain
Lord Chamberlain
The Lord Chamberlain or Lord Chamberlain of the Household is one of the chief officers of the Royal Household in the United Kingdom and is to be distinguished from the Lord Great Chamberlain, one of the Great Officers of State....

. Both A Patriot For Me and The Hotel in Amsterdam (1968) won Evening Standard Best Play of the Year awards
Evening Standard Awards
The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, established in 1955, are presented annually for outstanding achievements in London Theatre. Sponsored by the Evening Standard newspaper, they are announced in late November or early December...

. The latter play features three showbiz couples in a hotel suite, having fled a tyrannical and unpleasant movie producer, referred to as "K.L". John Heilpern confirms the rumour that "K.L" was in fact a portrait of Tony Richardson
Tony Richardson
Cecil Antonio "Tony" Richardson was an English theatre and film director and producer.-Early life:Richardson was born in Shipley, Yorkshire in 1928, the son of Elsie Evans and Clarence Albert Richardson, a chemist...

, seen through Osborne's eyes. Laurie, a screenwriter, a role created by the late Paul Scofield
Paul Scofield
David Paul Scofield, CH, CBE , better known as Paul Scofield, was an English actor of stage and screen...

, is a self-portrait: Osborne at mid-career.

1970s and later life


John Osborne's plays in the 1970s included West of Suez which starred Ralph Richardson
Ralph Richardson
Sir Ralph David Richardson was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, also appeared in several classic films....

, A Sense of Detachment, first produced at the Royal Court
Royal Court Theatre
The Royal Court Theatre is a non-commercial theatre on Sloane Square, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is noted for its contributions to modern theatre...

 in 1972, and Watch It Come Down, first produced at the National Theatre
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

 at the Old Vic
Old Vic
The Old Vic is a theatre located just south-east of Waterloo Station in London on the corner of The Cut and Waterloo Road. Established in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, it was taken over by Emma Cons in 1880 when it was known formally as the Royal Victoria Hall. In 1898, a niece of Cons, Lilian...

 starring Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
Francis Finlay, CBE is an English stage, film and television actor.-Personal life:Finlay was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, the son of Margaret and Josiah Finlay, a butcher. A devout Catholic, he belongs to the British Catholic Stage Guild. He was educated at St...

.

In 1971, he made his most best remembered acting appearance, lending Cyril Kinnear a sense of civil menace in Get Carter
Get Carter
Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a gangster who sets out to avenge the death of his brother in a series of unrelenting and brutal killings played out against the grim background of derelict urban housing in the city of...

. In 1978 he appeared as an actor in Tomorrow Never Comes
Tomorrow Never Comes
Tomorrow Never Comes is the Debut album by XINLISUPREME, released in 2002. Stylus Magazine Top 20 Favorite Albums of 2002.-Track listing:All songs by XINLISUPREME.# "Kyoro" – 3:16# "Goodbye For All" – 4:59# "Symmetry" – 2:08...

and in 1980 in Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash...

.

Through the 1980s Osborne played the role of Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

 squire with great pleasure and a heavy dose of irony. He wrote a diary for The Spectator
The Spectator
The Spectator is a weekly British magazine first published on 6 July 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also owns The Daily Telegraph. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture...

. He opened his garden to raise money for the church roof, from which he threatened to withdraw covenant-funding unless the vicar restored the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

. (He had returned to the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 about 1974.)

In his latter years, Osborne published two volumes of autobiography
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

, A Better Class of Person (Osborne, 1981) and Almost a Gentleman (Osborne, 1991). A Better Class of Person
A Better Class of Person
A Better Class of Person is an autobiography written by dramatist John Osborne and published in 1981. Based on Osborne's childhood and early life, it ends with the first performance of Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956...

was filmed by Thames TV in 1985 and was nominated for the Prix Italia
Prix Italia
The Prix Italia is an international Italian television, radio-broadcasting and Website award. It was established in 1948 by RAI - Radiotelevisione Italiana in Capri...

 with Eileen Atkins
Eileen Atkins
Dame Eileen June Atkins, DBE is an English actress and occasional screenwriter.- Early life :Atkins was born in the Mothers' Hospital in Clapton, a Salvation Army women's hostel in East London...

 and Alan Howard
Alan Howard
Alan MacKenzie Howard, CBE, is an English actor known for his roles on stage, television and film.He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1966 to 1983, and played leading roles at the Royal National Theatre between 1992 and 2000.-Personal life:Howard is the only son of the actor...

 as his parents and Gary Capelin and Neil McPherson as Osborne.

He also collected various newspaper and magazine writings together in 1994 under the title Damn You, England. At his memorial service in 1995, playwright David Hare
David Hare (dramatist)
Sir David Hare is an English playwright and theatre and film director.-Early life:Hare was born in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings, East Sussex, the son of Agnes and Clifford Hare, a sailor. He was educated at Lancing, an independent school in West Sussex, and at Jesus College, Cambridge...

 said:
His last play was Déjà Vu (1991), a sequel to Look Back in Anger.

Critical responses, idols and effect


Osborne was a great fan of Max Miller and saw parallels between them. 'I love him, (Max Miller) because he embodied a kind of theatre I admire most. 'Mary from the Dairy' was an overture to the danger that (Max) might go too far. Whenever anyone tells me that a scene or a line in a play of mine goes too far in some way then I know my instinct has been functioning as it should. When such people tell you that a particular passage makes the audience uneasy or restless, then they seem (to me) as cautious and absurd as landladies and girls-who-won't.'

Osborne's work transformed British theatre. He helped to make it artistically respected again, throwing off the formal constraints of the former generation, and turning our attention once more to language, theatrical rhetoric, and emotional intensity. He saw theatre as a weapon with which ordinary people could break down the class barriers and that he had a 'beholden duty to kick against the pricks'. He wanted his plays to be a reminder of real pleasures and real pains. David Hare said in his memorial address:
Osborne did change the world of theatre, influencing playwrights such as Edward Albee
Edward Albee
Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright who is best known for The Zoo Story , The Sandbox , Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , and a rewrite of the screenplay for the unsuccessful musical version of Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's . His works are considered well-crafted, often...

 and Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh
Michael "Mike" Leigh, OBE is a British writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and studied further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960s...

. However, work of his authenticity and originality would remain the exception rather than the rule. This did not surprise Osborne; nobody understood the tackiness of the theatre better than the man who had played Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

 on Hayling Island
Hayling Island
-Leisure activities:Although largely residential, Hayling is also a holiday, windsurfing and sailing centre, the site where windsurfing was invented....

. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Writer's Guild of Great Britain.

Osborne joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 in 1959. However, he drifted to the libertarian, unorganized right, considering himself "a radical who hates change".

Relationships


Osborne had many affairs over the course of his life and frequently mistreated his wives and lovers. He was married five times with all apart from his final marriage being unhappy unions.

Pamela Lane (1951-1957)


In Volume 1 of his autobiography A Better Class of Person, Osborne describes feeling an immediate and intense attraction towards his first wife. The pair were both members of an acting troupe in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Bridgwater is a market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. It is the administrative centre of the Sedgemoor district, and a major industrial centre. Bridgwater is located on the major communication routes through South West England...

.

She had just recently shorn her hair down to a defiant auburn stubble and I was impressed by the hostility she had created by this self-isolating act... her huge green eyes which mock or plead affection, preferably both, at least... She startled and confused me.. There was no calculation in my instant obsession.

Though Alison Porter in Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

was based on Pamela, Osborne describes Lane's parents as 'much coarser' and how at one point they hired a private detective to follow him after a fellow actor was seen 'fumbling' with his knee in a teashop. Though he admits that it was true at least that the actor in question did have a homosexual crush on him.

I began to feel surrounded and outflanked by hostility.. I had set off a crest of anger that had not been much more than drowsy before my arrival... It was scarcely important. Pamela was the battlement I was determined on.

The two married in secret in nearby Wells
Wells
Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2001 census is 10,406, it has had city status since 1205...

 and then left Bridgwater the following Sunday amidst an uneasy truce with Lane's parents (Osborne's hated mother was not aware of the union until the couple were divorcing), spending their first night as a married couple together in the Cromwell Road
Cromwell Road
Cromwell Road is a major road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, and is designated part of the A4. It was created in the 19th century and is named after Oliver Cromwell....

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.

I was unable to take my eyes off her. I watched her eating, walking, bathing, making-up, dressing, undressing, my curiosity was insatiable. Seeing her clothes lying around the floor (she was hopelessly untidy, in contrast to my own spinsterish habits). There was little doubt in my otherwise apprehensive spirit that I had carried off a unique prize.... Perhaps I interpreted what might have been bland complacency for the complaisance of a generous and loving heart.

The two lived a fairly itinerant and reasonably happy married existence at first, living at a number of digs around London and finding work in London at first, touring then in Osborne's case Kidderminster
Kidderminster
Kidderminster is a town, in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately fifteen miles north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town...

 and Lane's Derby
Derby
Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

. Lane's acting career flourished in Derby while Osborne's floundered and she began an affair with a rich dentist. Somewhat ironic given that Osborne had been playing a dentist in the company's production of Shaw
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60...

's You Never Can Tell
You Never Can Tell
You Never Can Tell is an 1897 four-act play by G. Bernard Shaw that debuted at the Royalty Theatre. It was published as part of a volume of Shaw's plays entitled Plays Pleasant....

 and that it was Osborne who had inadvertently introduced them by succumbing to a toothache he attributed to marital woes.

This was in the summer of 1955 and Osborne spent much of the next two years before their divorce hoping they would reconcile. In 1956, after Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

 had opened, Osborne met her at the railway station in York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, at which meeting she told Osborne of her recent abortion and enquired after his relationship with Mary Ure
Mary Ure
Eileen Mary Ure was a Scottish actress of stage and film.-Early life:Born in Glasgow where she studied at the school of drama, Ure was the daughter of civil engineer Colin McGregor Ure and Edith Swinburne. She went to the independent Mount School in York and trained for the stage at the Central...

, of which she was aware. In April 1957, Osborne was granted a divorce from Lane, on the grounds of his adultery.

Mary Ure (1957-1963)


Osborne began a relationship with Ure shortly after meeting her when she was cast as Alison in Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

in 1956. The affair swiftly progressed and the two moved in together in Woodfall Road, Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

.

Mary was one of those unguarded souls who can make themselves understood by penguins or the wildest dervishes .. I was not in love. There was fondness and pleasure, but no groping expectations, just a feeling of fleeting heart's ease. For the present we were both content enough.

Contentment, in Osborne's case, grows into a jealousy and slight contempt for Ure's stable family background and the banalities of her communication with them and a somewhat withering regard for her acting abilities.

I had stopped concealing from myself, if I ever had, that Mary was not much of an actress. She had a rather harsh voice and a tiny range. Her appearance was pleasing but without any personal sweep to it.

Like most actors, she was hysterical when unemployed and resentful when appearing every night to full houses. She also entertained the common belief that a writer is only working when he can be seen head down at his desk. Why are you drinking/dreaming/farting/fornicating instead of making typewriter noises?

There is infidelity on both sides and after an affair with Robert Webber
Robert Webber
Robert L. Webber was an American actor who starred as Juror #12 in the 1957 film 12 Angry Men.Webber was born in Santa Ana, California, the son of Alice and Robert Webber, who was a merchant seaman. He was a U.S. Marine during World War II serving on Guam and Okinawa...

, Ure ultimately leaves Osborne for Robert Shaw
Robert Shaw
-Arts and humanities:* Bob Shaw , Irish science fiction writer* Bob Shaw , co-writer for Seinfeld, A Bugs Life and others* Robert J...

.

The fact that my coltish liaison with Francine had been pre-empted by Mary's conduct with Webber explained her oddly restrained behaviour in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

... Betrayal might end in the bedroom but I found it naive to assume it necessarily began there.


Osborne describes visiting her after she had left him and having sex with her while she was pregnant with the first of four children she would bear to Shaw. Of their divorce, Osborne writes of being surprised that she repeatedly refused to return to him treasured postcards drawn for him by his father but is circumspect at her passing in 1975.

Destiny dragged her so pointlessly from a life better contained by the softly lapping waters of the River Clyde
River Clyde
The River Clyde is a major river in Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. Flowing through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire....

.


This is in marked contrast to his later revelling in the death of fourth wife Jill Bennett.

Penelope Gilliatt (1963-1968)


Osborne meets his third wife, writer Penelope Gilliatt
Penelope Gilliatt
Penelope Gilliatt was an English novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and film critic....

, initially through social connections, and she then interviewed him.

From Osborne's autobiography Almost a Gentleman:

It was not so much chastity that troubled me, but the withdrawal of feminine intimacy. And now, here I was, giving a routine interview to a young, animated woman, seemingly very informed and quick to laugh... I was already engaged in the prospect of mild and easy flirtation. I hadn't marked Penelope down in any appraising way as a future sportive fancy, but I had always been addicted to flirtation as a game worth playing for itself. One main attraction Penelope held for Osborne was her red hair I took red hair to be the mantle of goddesses.

Despite her being married and Osborne knowing her husband, Gilliatt set out to seduce Osborne and succeeded in doing so.

Penelope's behaviour and my own during the weeks that followed were probably grotesquely indefensible.

Osborne details some of the brazen subterfuges he created in order to commit adultery with Penelope Gilliatt
Penelope Gilliatt
Penelope Gilliatt was an English novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and film critic....

 before they were married, which included inventing a film festival in Folkestone
Folkestone
Folkestone is the principal town in the Shepway District of Kent, England. Its original site was in a valley in the sea cliffs and it developed through fishing and its closeness to the Continent as a landing place and trading port. The coming of the railways, the building of a ferry port, and its...

 so they could go away together. Osborne proposed marriage by asking Gilliatt: Will you marry me? It's risky, but you'd get fucked regularly.

Osborne and Gilliatt were married for five years (together for seven), in which time she bore him his only natural daughter, Nolan. Osborne had an abusive relationship with his daughter: he cast her out of his house when she was seventeen; they never spoke again. Osborne and Gilliatt's marriage suffered through what Osborne perceived to be an unnecessary obsession on her part with her work, writing film reviews for The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

.

I tried to point out that it seemed an inordinate amount of time and effort to expend on a thousand-word review to be read by a few thousand film addicts and forgotten almost at once.

He also observed in her a growing pretentiousness.

She was to become increasingly obsessed with fripperies and titles ... She took to calling herself 'Professor Gilliatt'.

Strains in the marriage, exacerbated by Gilliatt's alcoholism and what Osborne felt was malignant behaviour, led to Osborne conducting an affair, swiftly followed by marriage, with Jill Bennett.

Jill Bennett (1968-1977)


Osborne endured a turbulent nine-year marriage with Bennett, whom he came to loathe. Their marriage degenerated into mutual abuse and insult with Bennett goading Osborne, calling him 'impotent' and 'homosexual' in public as early as 1971. This was cruelty which Osborne reciprocated, turning his feelings of bitterness and resentment about his waning career onto his wife. Bennett's suicide in 1990 is generally believed to have been a result of Osborne's rejection of her. He said of Bennett: "She was the most evil woman I have come across", and showed open contempt for her suicide.

... she was a woman so demoniacally possessed by Avarice that she died of it. How many people have died in such a manner, of Avarice? .... This final, fumbled gesture, after a lifetime of glad-rags borrowings, theft and plagiarism, must have been one of the few original or spontaneous gestures in her loveless life... During the nine years I lived beneath the same roof with her, she spent half the day in bed. There was a short period when she took dressage lessons, that most intensive course in aids to severe narcissism
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

.

Osborne seems to relish in reading through obituaries of Bennett and contradicting any points of merit journalists found in her and is scathing of her acting abilities.

... sounding like a puppy with a mouthful of lavatory paper. I did everything I could to scrub up her diction, but it never improved. Indeed after we separated and she was consigned to lesser parts it became even worse. During a television series... even by the pier-end standards of sit-com, she was quite incomprehensive and cried out for sub-titles.

Osborne signs off the chapter on Bennett with perhaps some of his most damning prose committed to print.

Adolf [Osborne's nickname for her] has left half a million to Battersea Dogs' Home. She never bought a bar of soap in all the time she lived with me. Always, she cried poverty... It is the most perfect act of misanthropy, judged with the tawdry, kindless theatricality she strove to achieve in life. She had no love in her heart for people and only a little more for dogs. Her brand of malignity, unlike Penelope
Penelope Gilliatt
Penelope Gilliatt was an English novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and film critic....

's went beyond even the banality of ambition.... Her frigidity was almost total. She loathed men and pretended to love women, whom she hated even more. She was at ease only in the company of homosexuals, who she also despised but whose narcissism matched her own. I never heard her say an admiring thing of anyone... Everything about her life had been a pernicious confection, a sham.

He finally concludes by stating that his only regret is that he chose not to shit in her open coffin.

Helen Dawson (1978-1994)


Dawson (1939–2004) was a former arts journalist and critic for The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

. This final marriage of Osborne's, which lasted until his death, seems to have been Osborne's first happy union. Until her death in 2004, Dawson worked tirelessly to preserve and promote Osborne's legacy.

Osborne died deeply in debt, his final word to Dawson was: Sorry. After her death in 2004, Dawson was buried next to Osborne.

In his 2006 biography, John Heilpern describes at length a holiday in Valbonne
Valbonne
Valbonne Sophia Antipolis is a commune near Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in south-eastern France...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, in 1961, that Osborne shared with Tony Richardson
Tony Richardson
Cecil Antonio "Tony" Richardson was an English theatre and film director and producer.-Early life:Richardson was born in Shipley, Yorkshire in 1928, the son of Elsie Evans and Clarence Albert Richardson, a chemist...

, a distraught George Devine
George Devine
George Alexander Cassady Devine CBE was an extremely influential theatrical manager, director, teacher and actor in London from the late 1940s until his death. He also worked in the media of TV and film.-Biography:...

, and others. Feigning bafflement over the romantic entanglements of the time, Heilpern writes:

Vegetarianism


Around the time of Look Back in Anger Osborne was a vegetarian, something which was considered unusual at the time. In Almost a Gentleman he gives some insight into this lifestyle choice:

Death


After a serious liver crisis in 1987, Osborne became a diabetic
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

, injecting twice a day. He died in 1994 from complications from his diabetes at the age of 65 at his home in Clunton
Clunton
Clunton is a village in Shropshire, England, to the east of the small town of Clun.- Location :It lies on the B4368 road between Clun and Craven Arms. The nearest railway station is Hoptonheath. The village is at 162m above sea level....

, near Craven Arms
Craven Arms
Craven Arms is a small town and civil parish in Shropshire, England, located on the A49 road and the Welsh Marches railway line, which connect it north and south to the larger towns of Shrewsbury and Ludlow respectively. The Heart of Wales railway line joins the Welsh Marches line at Craven Arms...

, Shropshire. He is buried in St George's churchyard, Clun
Clun
Clun is a small town in Shropshire, England. The town is located entirely in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 2001 census recorded 642 people living in the town...

, Shropshire, alongside his last wife, the critic Helen Dawson, who died in 2004.

Works

Year Title Role Notes
The Devil Inside Theatre 1950 with Stella Linden
The Great Bear Theatre 1951 blank verse, never produced
Personal Enemy
Personal Enemy
Personal Enemy is a play by John Osborne and Anthony Creighton. It was written in 1954, prior to Osborne's 'big break' with Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956, and first performed in Harrogate in 1955...

Theatre 1955 with Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton , a British actor and writer, is best known as the co-author of the play Epitaph for George Dillon with John Osborne....

Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger
Look Back in Anger is a John Osborne play—made into films in 1959, 1980, and 1989 -- about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man , his upper-middle-class, impassive wife , and her haughty best friend . Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace...

Theatre 1956
The Entertainer
The Entertainer (play)
The Entertainer is a three act play by John Osborne, first produced in 1957. His first play, Look Back in Anger, had attracted mixed notices but a great deal of publicity. Having depicted an "angry young man" in the earlier play, Osborne wrote, at Laurence Olivier's request,about an angry middle...

Theatre 1957
Epitaph for George Dillon
Epitaph for George Dillon
Epitaph for George Dillon is an early John Osborne play, one of two he wrote in collaboration with Anthony Creighton . It was written before Look Back in Anger, the play which made Osborne’s career, but opened a year after in Oxford in 1957 and moved to London’s Royal Court theatre, where Look...

Theatre 1958 with Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton
Anthony Creighton , a British actor and writer, is best known as the co-author of the play Epitaph for George Dillon with John Osborne....

The World Of Paul Slickey Theatre 1959
A Subject Of Scandal And Concern TV 1960
Luther
Luther (play)
Luther is a 1961 play by John Osborne that explored the forces that were involved in the life of Martin Luther, one of the instigators of the Protestant Reformation. Osborne was influenced by Erik Erikson's book, Young Man Luther, which had been published three years prior in 1958. In the play,...

Theatre 1961
Plays for England Theatre 1962
The Blood of the Bambergs
Under Plain Cover
Tom Jones
Tom Jones (film)
Tom Jones is a 1963 British adventure comedy film, an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling , starring Albert Finney as the titular hero. It was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular comedies of its time, winning four Academy Awards...

Screenplay 1963
Inadmissible Evidence
Inadmissible Evidence
Inadmissible Evidence is a play written by John Osborne in November 1964. It was also filmed in 1968.The protagonist of the play is William Maitland, a middle-aged English solicitor who has come to hate his entire life. Much of the play consists of lengthy monologues in which Maitland tells the...

Theatre 1964
A Patriot for Me
A Patriot for Me
A Patriot For Me is a 1965 play by the English playwright John Osborne, based on the true story of Alfred Redl. It was notable for being denied a licence for performance by the censor of the time....

Theatre 1965
A Bond Honoured Theatre 1966 One-act adaptation of Lope de Vega's La fianza satisfecha
The Hotel In Amsterdam Theatre 1968
Time Present Theatre 1968
The Charge of the Light Brigade
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968 film)
The Charge of the Light Brigade is a 1968 British war film made by Woodfall Film Productions and distributed by United Artists . It was directed by Tony Richardson and produced by Neil Hartley....

Screenplay 1968
The Right Prospectus TV 1970
West Of Suez Theatre 1971
A Sense Of Detachment Theatre 1972
The Gift Of Friendship TV 1972
Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler
Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama...

Theatre 1972 Ibsen adaptation
A Place Calling Itself Rome Theatre (1973) Coriolanus
Coriolanus (play)
Coriolanus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader, Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.-Characters:*Caius Martius, later surnamed Coriolanus...

 adaptation, unproduced
Ms, Or Jill And Jack TV 1974
The End Of Me Old Cigar Theatre 1975
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Dorian Gray
Dorian Gray is the main character of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.It may also refer to:* Dorian Gray , an Italian film starring Helmut Berger...

Theatre 1975 Wilde adaptation
Almost A Vision TV 1976
Watch It Come Down Theatre 1976
Try A Little Tenderness Theatre (1978) unproduced
Very Like A Whale TV 1980
You're Not Watching Me, Mummy TV 1980
A Better Class of Person Book 1981 autobiography volume I
A Better Class of Person
A Better Class of Person
A Better Class of Person is an autobiography written by dramatist John Osborne and published in 1981. Based on Osborne's childhood and early life, it ends with the first performance of Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956...

 
TV 1985
God Rot Tunbridge Wells TV 1985
The Father
The Father (play)
The Father is a 1989 play by British playwright John Osborne....

Theatre 1989 Strindberg adaptation
Almost a Gentleman Book 1991 autobiography volume II
Déjàvu Theatre 1992

Selected filmography

  • Get Carter
    Get Carter
    Get Carter is a 1971 British crime film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a gangster who sets out to avenge the death of his brother in a series of unrelenting and brutal killings played out against the grim background of derelict urban housing in the city of...

    (1971)
  • The Chairman's Wife
    The Chairman's Wife
    The Chairman's Wife is a 1971 British short drama film directed by Gerry O'Hara and starring David de Keyser, Fiona Lewis and John Osborne. The wife of a company's chairman stages her own kidnapping in order to gain money...

    (1971)
  • Tomorrow Never Comes
    Tomorrow Never Comes (film)
    Tomorrow Never Comes is a 1978 British-Canadian crime film directed by Peter Collinson and starring Oliver Reed and Susan George.-Cast:*Oliver Reed as Jim Wilson*Susan George as Janie*Raymond Burr as Burke*John Ireland as Captain...

    (1978)
  • Flash Gordon (film)
    Flash Gordon (film)
    Flash Gordon is a 1980 British/American science fiction film, based on the comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond. The film was directed by Mike Hodges and produced and presented by Dino De Laurentiis. It stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian...

    (1980)

Major sources




External links