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  1. #1
    Member Country: Great Britain
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    Haa anyone read his diaries read by derek jacobi

    What a insight in his personel life it makes you wonder what gossips people are

    So many people came under his critical eyes and also how very close knit community they were i lay at night and listern to it he wanted alec guiness job in lawrence he recond hed have done a better job and many more snippets

    perhaps i am a gossip at heart too ?

  2. #2
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    anthony chubb:

    Haa anyone read his diaries read by derek jacobi

    What a insight in his personel life it makes you wonder what gossips people are

    So many people came under his critical eyes and also how very close knit community they were i lay at night and listern to it he wanted alec guiness job in lawrence he recond hed have done a better job and many more snippets

    perhaps i am a gossip at heart too ?
    One of the original "lovies". A fine actor, although, like Olivier and the others, better with the stage performances as they tended to proclaim a bit to much in films.



    Great nephew of celebrated stage actress Ellen Terry.



    Knighted in 1953 and appointed a Companion of Honour in 1977.



    One of the few people ever to win an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony.



    Convicted of "lewd behaviour" in 1953. He got a standing ovation at his next stage appearance, and the roller-coaster to de-criminalise homosexuality in England and Wales began.



    He once playfully quipped, "Ingrid Bergman is fluent in five languages. And she can't act in any of them."



    Famous for "dropping bricks" with his comments.



    To Clement Attlee, when Prime Minister "Tell me, where are you living these days?"



    Steve

  3. #3
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    Knighted in 1953 and appointed a Companion of Honour in 1977.



    Steve
    Also he became the 2nd and last actor to date (after Olivier) to receive the Order Of Merit (in 1996).

  4. #4
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    A STRANGE AND ELUSIVE THING



    As spring approached its mid-point in Tasmania I chanced upon the best library in the north of the state, the university of Tasmania library in Launceston. There I spent a pleasant hour before I started to get sleepy as I so often do and have in libraries in the last couple of decades of middle life. I had just been to the dentist that morning, had my first KFC lunch in three years and, before going home some 50 kms to George Town, I felt a need to do some browsing in the library as I have done in these first years of my late adulthood two or three times a year. It was not so much chance, then, that took me to the library as habit, custom, interest, desire even, as I say, need.



    After taking half a dozen books off a shelf in the theatre and film section at the far end of the library, I sat down at a table near the photocopying machine, anticipating some copying of pages from the books I had selected. One of the books I had procured for my small pile was a thick 500+ page tome on the life of John Gielgud.1 I copied six pages from the book on Gielgud seeing the makings of a prose-poem which I would write when I got home. Perhaps these pages would just serve as some interesting information for the two arch-lever files I had on drama in my study. –Ron Price with thanks to 1Jonathan Croall, Gielgud: A Theatrical Life, Methuen, London, 2000.



    As you say, John,

    getting old is strange

    somehow one never

    thought it quite possible.1



    The theatre was your life,

    your hobby, joy, work,

    occupation, vocation, habit,

    avocation, obsession, your all.



    Always you worked, solitary

    man that you were, shy, timid,

    cowardly, even, as you said,

    enjoyed your own company,

    aloof, impetuous, modest,

    downplayed your successes.



    There is much in these traits

    that I see in myself, but the

    essential admixture was not,

    for me, the theatre, but a new

    religion—the Bahá’* Faith.



    And I, too, found growing old

    a strange and elusive thing.



    1Gielgud in ibid., p.514.



    -Ron Price

    October 11th 2006

    ___________________

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    Haa anyone read his diaries read by derek jacobi

    What a insight in his personel life it makes you wonder what gossips people are

    So many people came under his critical eyes and also how very close knit community they were i lay at night and listern to it he wanted alec guiness job in lawrence he recond hed have done a better job and many more snippets

    perhaps i am a gossip at heart too ?
    Orson Welles told the story of being at some function and over hearing Geilguld,after being told of Welles presence, said "What is he doing in England,don't tell me they are letting Americans play Shakespear"

    Geilguld was a real snob,but what a treasure.

    Terry

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    John Gielgud: When England hounded a hero



    THE INDEPENDENT



    John Gielgud's arrest for cottaging in 1953 sparked public outrage and, for the actor, private agony. A new play tells the story of the scandal





    The most terrible moment in John Gielgud's life on which he maintained a public silence for 50 years is about to be put on public view. Nicholas de Jongh, theatre critic of the Evening Standard, has written a play in which we will witness Gielgud, played by Jasper Britton, give the glad eye in a public lavatory to a man who then turns out to be an undercover policeman.



    But Plague Over England is concerned with much more than Gielgud's arrest in 1953 on the charge of "importuning for immoral purposes". The play shows the milieu Gielgud inhabited and the forces arrayed against him. Its characters include the producer who nearly ended his career, the virulently anti-homosexual Lord Chief Justice Rayner Goddard (a man, says de Jongh, "by buggery obsessed"), an American fleeing his own country's anti-Communist paranoia, and a doctor who claims to "cure" same-sex attraction with Clockwork Orange-style electric shock therapy.



    Homosexuals had long been feared and hated in England as men who, it was believed, preyed on the innocent young, and were thus unfit to lead normal, happy lives. Until 1967, they risked prosecution for what the law called "acts of gross indecency between male persons", even in private, and could be arrested for merely showing in a police spy's opinion an intent to commit them.



    Police throughout England were alert for any hints of homosexual behaviour. The officer who arrested Gielgud was part of a Metropolitan Police squad established in 1930 that regularly lurked in central London toilets.



    The year in which Gielgud came to grief in a Chelsea convenience was a particularly dangerous one for homosexuals, as the increased frankness of the period allowed politicians, the police, and the press to profit by inflaming public hysteria, warning that a "plague" or "epidemic" of sodomy was sweeping the land. The Conservative government's crackdown on men who in previous decades would have been protected by their position began in earnest. The Labour MP William Field merely had to resign and pay a fine, but the popular travel author Rupert Croft-Cooke and Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, along with two of his house guests, would be tried and sentenced to between nine and 18 months in prison. The climate of fear was chilling to gay men who paid even the slightest attention to the news.



    Gielgud, however, was, in his own words a "silly gubbins" who took in nothing apart from his work. On 21 October, following the rehearsal for NC Hunter's genteel A Day By the Sea, this supremely unworldly man, then 49, had a few drinks at a party and then visited a lavatory popular with cottagers.



    Nicked, and aware that he should give a false identity, he said he was a clerk called Arthur (his real name) Gielgud. The next day he appeared before a magistrate who did not know who he was, fined him 10, and ordered him, with the disdain and sexual ignorance of the period, to "see your doctor the moment you leave this court."



    Unfortunately, a better-informed Evening Standard reporter was there, too. When that afternoon's paper hit the streets, he was on the front page.



    One can imagine the shame and the terror with which Gielgud turned up at rehearsal (he had considered suicide) for the role of a bachelor diplomat whose mother worries that he is lonely and unloved.



    But the company, led by his co-star, Dame Sybil Thorndike, in fact welcomed him with open arms. "Oh, John," she said, in one of the most magnificent double entendres of all time, "you have been a silly bugger!"



    The producer of A Day By the Sea, however, the immensely powerful Binkie Beaumont, saw the newspaper leaders and the hate mail, and worried that the public would stay away. Yet his thoughts of sacking the star were checked by Gielgud's brother, Val, who applied a little judicious blackmail about Binkie's very own private life.



    Although everyone was nervous that Gielgud might be greeted with silence, or even boos, on his first appearance at the Liverpool opening, in the event he was cheered to the rafters, as he was again in London. Five months into the run, however, he began suffering from double vision, had a breakdown, and had to leave the play. He never spoke of the incident publicly, or referred to it in his several volumes of memoirs, and until his death in 2000, other writers respected his wish that it be forgotten.



    De Jongh recalls one exception on Gielgud's 80th birthday, the rather odd and very religious critic Harold Hobson wrote that the "sickening" episode would not have happened if he had only got married.



    De Jongh based his depiction of the incident on the report of an actor friend who had the temerity, near the end of Gielgud's life, to ask him what really happened. In Gielgud's version, he had not gone looking for sex, but his account was punctuated by his longtime companion, Martin Hensler, growling, "No, no, John, you always lie!"



    Gielgud was known, de Jongh says, as having a penchant for anonymous lavatory sex "It's one of the reasons his knighthood [just a few months before the arrest] was postponed for years." It was even known he had a "cruising cap" for such forays, an attempt to disguise himself as someone lower down the social scale. But, de Jongh says, "There was no one at the time close enough to him to say, 'John, you mustn't.'"



    The arrest had important consequences, and not only for Gielgud, who was told by the British embassy in Washington to forget about a planned American production of The Tempest, as he might prove "an embarrassment". Afterwards, says de Jongh, "the floodgates opened", as the public was confronted by the disturbing fact that an extremely distinguished and beloved artist was one of the people they, in theory, despised. The fuss contributed to the Wolfenden Commission, set up the following year to study prostitution, taking on homosexuality as well. Its recommendations eventually led to decriminalisation.



    De Jongh believes that, while the affair broke Gielgud emotionally, he put himself back together in a way that made him better suited to a theatre in a world of greater change and upheaval. He recalls one of Gielgud's greatest performances, which he feels was informed by that consciousness of loss and guilt, in David Storey's Home (1970). "He sat, saying almost nothing, but the tears rolled down his cheeks. He was the picture of shattered, silent despair. Not one of the present generation of so-called great actors could do that now."



    'Plague Over England', Finborough Theatre, London SW10 (0844 847 1652), to 22 March; NC Hunter's 'A Day by the Sea' will also run at the theatre during this period



  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by

    THE INDEPENDENT
    John Gielgud: When England hounded a hero





    Although everyone was nervous that Gielgud might be greeted with silence, or even boos, on his first appearance at the Liverpool opening, in the event he was cheered to the rafters, as he was again in London.
    So obviously England didn't hound him at all.







    I think if I was arrested skulking for sex in public lavatories I'd be bloody embarrassed too, regardless of the object of my ardour.




  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    So obviously England didn't hound him at all.
    Quite. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story...

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Why was everyone so certain he was about to get a knighthood? Surely you're either offered one or you're not? It's not conditional on good behaviour.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Country: England
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    Quite. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story...
    To be honest, it does seem that much of the anti-homosexual feeling was from those in power, and that other classes were far more tolerant, unless the men or women in question were exceptionally flamboyant, a la Quentin Crisp.

    No-one honestly imagined figures such as Noel Coward or Ivor Novello were anything other than gay, and Wilde's plays in constant production, drawing huge business. The couple who lived next door to us when I was growing up had been living openly together there since the thirties....and they were schoolteachers. No one gave a tuppenny damn.

    The Lord Chamberlain's Office and the BBFC kept the topic off the screens...but the real people were around and getting on with life. Not all took the diplomatic marriage route.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    So obviously England didn't hound him at all.


    I think if I was arrested skulking for sex in public lavatories I'd be bloody embarrassed too, regardless of the object of my ardour.



    No but he was barred from the states for a while because of it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain Mark O's Avatar
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    Poor John, same thing happened to Wilfrid Brambell as well at Shepherds Bush in the early 60's, I have read that the person who was Home Secretary in the 50's (don't recall his name) was an obsessed Homophobic who called Homosexuals 'Proselyters' in the House of Commons and other derogatory words, he told the Police to step up their efforts in arresting Men for even the slighest transgression, and therefore there were many more Arrests in the 50's than there had ever been before or since..........Thank goodness we live in more enlightened times today!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: England
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    I've always thought it paradoxical that, in less liberal times, the average U.K. man or woman largely disapproved of homosexuals, but at the same time had great affection, and made up most of the audience, of camp comedians, entertainers or drag queens.

  14. #14
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    I've always thought it paradoxical that, in less liberal times, the average U.K. man or woman largely disapproved of homosexuals, but at the same time had great affection, and made up most of the audience, of camp comedians, entertainers or drag queens.
    I guess they could tolerate gays as long as they were distinctly "other".

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: UK Wee Sonny MacGregor's Avatar
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    Poor John, same thing happened to Wilfrid Brambell as well at Shepherds Bush in the early 60's, I have read that the person who was Home Secretary in the 50's (don't recall his name) was an obsessed Homophobic who called Homosexuals 'Proselyters' in the House of Commons and other derogatory words, he told the Police to step up their efforts in arresting Men for even the slighest transgression, and therefore there were many more Arrests in the 50's than there had ever been before or since..........Thank goodness we live in more enlightened times today!
    You could be thinking of Home Secretary Henry Brooke. But it would be entirely in keeping with the mores of the time - it wasn't just homosexuality that was pursued by the police. Just think of how many films were censored, books banned etc; even Donald McGill got prosecuted for his postcards.



    I'm told, and I stress that this is not from personal experience, that the police used to peer through the narrow gap at the bottom of the cubicle to check on the number of pairs of feet. This was countered by one party standing in a carrier bag.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: England
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    it would be entirely in keeping with the mores of the time -
    A very good point. It wasn't only gay men who were victims in the 1950s. Young girls who became pregnant outside marriage didn't have an easy time. Some were even locked away in mental institutions because of their 'unstable behaviour'.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    A very good point. It wasn't only gay men who were victims in the 1950s. Young girls who became pregnant outside marriage didn't have an easy time. Some were even locked away in mental institutions because of their 'unstable behaviour'.
    And forcibly parted from their children who were only allowed to see their adoption records after 1976

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    In the case of Gielgud the authorities tried to prevent into getting in the press. His case was heard early in the day so the press wouldnt be around to report it. Unfortunately one court reporter did just that and heard JG's unmistakeable tones and went into the court room.

  19. #19
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    I don't care. A truely great actor. He made me smile, laugh, sigh............



    His private life should have been just that.



    I really don't care to me he will ALWAYS be one of our very best!!!!!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Country: England
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    The story I remember being told years ago was that John Gielgud was often caught misbehaving in the Gents loos in Leicester Square but, as he was so respected and loved, the rozzers just gave him a gentle ticking off, put him in a taxi and sent him home!



    But that was a long time ago and one wonders how the modern PC cops would react....

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