In 1949 Forwood gained his first acting role when he starred in Ralph Thomas' Traveller's Joy. That same year he appeared in the thriller Man in Black with Sid James. Some time later, in 1952, he received a number of roles including Appointment in London with Dirk Bogarde, whose longtime partner and manager he became. (Ralph Thomas directed Bogarde in Doctor in the House and several of its sequels.) He appeared with Boris Karloff in the mystery Colonel March Investigates and played Will Scarlet in The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952). One year later he acted in the Oscar-nominated Knights of the Round Table, a film starring such high-profile actors as Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner and Stanley Baker, and in Terence Fisher’s Mantrap (1953). His last role came in 1956 in Colonel March of Scotland Yard.
Forwood married, and later divorced, actress Glynis Johns. Their only child was actor Gareth Forwood (1945–2007).
Sir Dirk Bogarde was an English actor and novelist. Initially a matinee idol Bogarde later acted in art-house films like Death in Venice. For many years he shared his homes, in England and France, with his manager Anthony Forwood. The actor John Fraser said that "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"
with Julie Harris
with Kathleen Tynan
By 1987 Forwood was dying of liver cancer and Parkinson's disease. At this time Bogarde, a heavy smoker, had a minor stroke. On 18 May 1988, Forwood died aged 72 in Kensington and Chelsea, London. His body was cremated. After Bogarde's experiences in the war, and being witness to Forwood’s suffering, Bogarde was determined to encourage voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients.
Sir Dirk Bogarde (28 March 1921 – 8 May 1999) was an English actor and novelist. Initially a matinee idol in such films as Doctor in the House (1954) and other Rank Organisation pictures, Bogarde later acted in art-house films like Death in Venice (1971). He also wrote several volumes of autobiography.
Bogarde was a life-long bachelor and, during his life, was reported to be homosexual. Bogarde's most serious friendship with a woman was with the bisexual French actress Capucine. For many years he shared his homes, first in Amersham, England, then in France with his manager Anthony Forwood (a former husband of the actress Glynis Johns and the father of her only child, actor Gareth Forwood, whom Dirk met in 1940), but repeatedly denied that their relationship was anything but platonic. Such denials were understandable, mainly given that homosexual acts were illegal during most of his career, and also considering his appeal to women, which he was loath to jeopardise. His brother Gareth Van den Bogaerde in a 2004 interview with Jan Moir stated that Bogarde was engaging in homosexual sex at a time when such activity was illegal; and also claimed that the relationship with Forwood went beyond that of a manager and friend.
It was possible that Bogarde's refusal to enter into a marriage of convenience was a major reason for his failure to become a star in Hollywood, together with the critical and commercial failure of Song Without End. His friend Helena Bonham Carter believed Bogarde would not have been able to come out as gay during later life, since this might have too unambiguously demonstrated that he had been forced to camouflage his real sexual orientation during his film career. The actor John Fraser however said that "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..."
Bogarde was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in a nursing home at 12 Hemstal Road, West Hampstead, London, of mixed Flemish, Dutch and Scottish ancestry, and baptised on 30 October at St. Mary's Church, Kilburn. His father, Ulric van den Bogaerde (born in Perry Barr, Birmingham; 1892-1972), was the art editor of The Times and his mother, Margaret Niven (1898-1980), was a former actress. He attended University College School, the former Allan Glen's School in Glasgow (a time he described in his autobiography as unhappy, although others have disputed his account) and later studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Bogarde served in World War II, being commissioned into the Queen's Royal Regiment in 1943. He reached the rank of captain and served in both the European and Pacific theatres, principally as an intelligence officer. He claimed to have been one of the first Allied officers in April 1945 to reach the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, an experience that had the most profound effect on him and about which he found it difficult to speak for many years afterward.
As John Carey has summed up with regard to John Coldstream's authorised biography however, "it is virtually impossible that he (Bogarde) saw Belsen or any other camp. Things he overheard or read seem to have entered his imagination and been mistaken for lived experience." Coldstream's analysis seems to conclude that this was indeed the case. Nonetheless, the horror and revulsion at the cruelty and inhumanity that he claimed to have witnessed still left him with a deep-seated hostility towards Germany; in the late-1980s he wrote that he would disembark from a lift rather than ride with a German. Nevertheless, three of his more memorable film roles were as Germans, one of them as a former SS officer in The Night Porter.
He was most vocal, towards the end of his life, on the issue of voluntary euthanasia, of which he became a staunch proponent after witnessing the protracted death of his lifelong partner and manager Anthony Forwood (the former husband of actress Glynis Johns) in 1988. He gave an interview to John Hofsess, London executive director of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society:
"My views were formulated as a 24-year-old officer in Normandy ... On one occasion the jeep ahead hit a mine ... Next thing I knew, there was this chap in the long grass beside me. A bloody bundle, shrapnel-ripped, legless, one arm only. The one arm reached out to me, white eyeballs wide, unseeing, in the bloody mask that had been a face. A gurgling voice said, 'Help. Kill me.' With shaking hands I reached for my small pouch to load my revolver ... I had to look for my bullets -- by which time somebody else had already taken care of him. I heard the shot. I still remember that gurgling sound. A voice pleading for death" ... "During the war I saw more wounded men being 'taken care of' than I saw being rescued. Because sometimes you were too far from a dressing station, sometimes you couldn't get them out. And they were pumping blood or whatever; they were in such a wreck, the only thing to do was to shoot them. And they were, so don't think they weren't. That hardens you: You get used to the fact that it can happen. And that it is the only sensible thing to do".In 1977, Bogarde embarked on his second career as an author. Starting with a first volume A Postillion Struck by Lightning, (a title said to be derived from a sentence in a travel phrase book ) he wrote a series of autobiographical volumes, novels and book reviews. As a writer Bogarde displayed a witty, elegant, highly literate and thoughtful style.
Many believed Bogarde's refusal to enter into a marriage of convenience was a major reason for his failure to become a star in Hollywood, together with the critical and commercial failure of Song Without End. His friend Helena Bonham Carter believed Bogarde would not have been able to come out as gay during later life, since this might too unambiguously have demonstrated that he had been forced to camouflage his real sexual orientation during his film career.
Bogarde starred in the film Victim (1961), playing a homosexual London barrister who fights the blackmailers of a young man with whom he has had an emotional relationship. The young man commits suicide after being arrested for embezzlement, rather than ruin his friend's reputation. In exposing the ring of extortionists, Bogarde's character risks his career and marriage in order to see that justice is done. Victim was the first mainstream British film to treat homosexuality convincingly; and it had some effect upon a contemporary change in English law which decriminalized consensual homosexual acts.
Bogarde claimed he had known General Browning from his time on Field Marshal Montgomery's staff during the war and took issue with the largely negative portrayal of the General that he played in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far. General "Boy" Browning's widow, the author Daphne du Maurier, ferociously attacked his characterisation and "the resultant establishment fallout, much of it homophobic, wrongly convinced [Bogarde] that the newly ennobled Sir Richard [Attenborough] had deliberately contrived to scupper his own chance of a knighthood." He was however knighted in 1992 for services to acting.
He was also a shareholder in Pressdram Ltd, the company that owned the satirical magazine Private Eye. Upon his death his shares passed on to Brock van der Bogaerde.
Bogarde's controversial film choices later in his career led him to have something of a cult following. The singer Morrissey was a fan and, according to Charlotte Rampling, Bogarde was approached in 1990 by Madonna to appear in her video for Justify My Love, citing The Night Porter as an inspiration. Bogarde declined the offer.
In 1984, Bogarde served as president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. He was the first Briton to serve in this capacity. He was knighted in 1992 for services to acting, and was the recipient of honorary doctorates from St Andrews and Sussex.
Formerly a heavy smoker, Bogarde suffered a minor stroke in November 1987, at a time when his partner, Anthony Forwood, was dying of liver cancer and Parkinson's disease. Never afraid of voicing his opinion, Bogarde, having witnessed Forwood's protracted illness and death, became active in promoting voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients in Britain, and toured the UK giving lectures and answering questions from audiences on the subject. It was a cause, he stated, that had been important to him since the war, when he had seen severely injured men pleading to be put out of their misery by being shot.
In September 1996, he underwent angioplasty to unblock arteries leading to his heart and suffered a pulmonary embolism following the operation. Bogarde was paralyzed on one side of his body, which affected his speech and left him in a wheelchair. He managed, however, to complete a final volume of autobiography, which covered the stroke and its effects. He spent some time the day before he died with his friend Lauren Bacall. Bogarde died in London from a heart attack on 8 May 1999, aged 78. His ashes were scattered at his former estate of "Le Haut Clermont" in Grasse, Southern France.
Autobiographies and memoirs
A Postillion Struck by Lightning, 1977
Snakes and Ladders, 1978
An Orderly Man, 1983
A Particular Friendship, 1989
Great Meadow, 1992
A Short Walk from Harrods, 1993
Cleared for Take-Off, 1995
For the Time Being: Collected Journalism, 1998
Dirk Bogarde: The Complete Autobiography (contains the first four autobiographies only)
A Gentle Occupation, 1980
Voices in the Garden, 1981
West of Sunset, 1984
A Period of Adjustment, 1994
Closing Ranks, 1997.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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