Sir Dirk Bogarde, born 28 March 1921, in Hampstead, London; died 8 May, 1999,
I included a biography of Sir Dirk in his birthday notice, so I won't repeat it in this
moment of reflection on the body of work he has left behind. He died peacefully
on 8 May 1999, around noon, sitting in his chair facing the light he loved so much
streaming in from the windows of his top flat. I like to think that light reminded
him of his beloved home in southern France.
Sir Dirk had just turned 78. From reports, he was of good cheer having had a
lively, cordial visit from Lauren Bacall that morning. He was looking forward to the
coming year and perhaps even dictating more writing. On a personal level, I
would have cherished reading one last essay from him at that point in his life
which reflected back on his films, his friends, and life in general. From what
his nurse, family, and biographer John Coldstream have said, he had "reconciled himself" and come to terms with his life. He had "packed his bags" and was ready to go.
During his lifetime, Sir Dirk made 70 films and wrote 15 books, plus early poetry,
introductions, and a good amount of uncredited scripts he tweaked or wrote
himself, as well as his narrative work and the audio books he recorded. For eight years, he also wrote weekly articles and reviews for the Daily Telegraph, collected in "For the Time Being." He began his career in the theatre, which he returned to several times during his years in film; in his later years, he greatly enjoyed a series of theatre platforms and engaging in Q&A sessions with audiences about his work and whatever current book he had written. He also left a body of wonderful drawings, many of which were used to illustrate his books.
R.I.P. Sir Dirk Bogarde.