One of his earliest roles was as Inigo Jollifant in the second film version of J.B. Priestley's The Good Companions. He went on to have starring roles in films such as El Cid, The Trials of Oscar Wilde (playing Lord Alfred Douglas), and Roman Polanski's Repulsion. He made appearances on television series including Danger Man (1964), Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969), Columbo (1972), Doctor Who (1981) and The Bill (1995).
In 2004, he published his autobiography, Close Up, in which he wrote frankly about his gay life (albeit occasionally inaccurately regarding some third party details) and friendships. In the book, Fraser wrote that actor Laurence Harvey was gay and that his long-term lover was his manager James Woolf. According to Fraser, "As a teenager, [Harvey] started out living with Hermione Baddeley (the two appeared together in the acclaimed film Room at the Top), a blowsy star of intimate revue more than twice his age. Then he married Margaret Leighton, old enough to be his mother (actually Leighton was only six years older than Harvey) but a woman of style. When this marriage was over, he married Joan Cohn, the widow of Harry Cohn, managing director of Columbia Pictures. Throughout all these career marriages, he still managed to string Jimmy Woolf along."
Of Dirk Bogarde, Fraser wrote, "Dirk's life with Forwood had been so respectable, their love for each other so profound and so enduring, it would have been a glorious day for the pursuit of understanding and the promotion of tolerance if he had screwed up the courage ... to make one dignified allusion to his true nature. Self-love is no substitute for self-respect." In a newspaper article, [Bogarde’s friend and sometime co-star] John Fraser remarked on the singularity of Bogarde’s relationship with his manager, Anthony Forwood, who had left his wife, Glynis Johns, to devote the rest of his life to Dirk. Forwood always insisted that theirs was nothing more than a business association, although they seemed as close as the happiest of married couples. There was never a hint in any of Bogarde’s brilliant part-autobiographical books that he and “Forwood” (as he always called him, making him sound like a butler) were anything but just good friends. This was surely long after the days when any disclosure of a personal relationship between them could have disillusioned any of his early fans who were still alive.
Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales by John Fraser
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Oberon Books (April 1, 2006)
Amazon: Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales
In this acclaimed autobiography, John Fraser takes us from the council estates of prewar Glasgow to the glamour of 1960’s Hollywood and beyond. Funny, honest and acutely observant about himself, his family and his friends, John Fraser presents such legendary figures as Rudolf Nureyev, Hedy Lamarr, Dirk Bogarde and Bette Davis in a new and startling light.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices
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