Corlett was born in Darlington, County Durham. He was educated at Fettes College, Edinburgh, then trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. For more than 10 years, he was an actor, working in repertory companies all over the country, most notably in Perth, under the direction of Joan Knight. He played for Robert Atkins at the open air theatre in Regent's Park, London, and in the West End in Bonne Soupe (1962), starring Coral Browne.
Although talented, Bill described himself as a "dressing room actor", meaning that what he most loved was being in the theatre, belonging to a company, leading or supporting as required. As he learned his job as an actor, he began to write plays, many of which were produced at Perth, Farnham, Eastbourne, Leicester and Nottingham. In 1963, the Royal Court, London, took up The Gentle Avalanche, and Bill, along with Hugh Whitemore and Christopher Hampton, was greeted as a newcomer of great promise. Two years later, Sibyl Thorndike appeared in Return Ticket at the Duchess theatre. By this time, television was devouring writing talent, and Bill turned to the new medium, contributing innumerable single plays, and writing many episodes for long-running series, including the then Emmerdale Farm. One of his screenplays for Thames Televison won him the first of three gold awards at the New York International Film and Television Festival, and his scripts for the children's series, The Paper Lads (1977), won him the first of two Writer's Guild awards.
William Corlett (8 October 1938 - 16 August 2005), was an English author, best known for his quartet of children's novels, The Magician's House, published between 1990 and 1992. Later in life he came out as gay, and it was from his partner, Bryn Ellis, that he gained some of his inspiration for The Magician's House. Bill bravely endured his last weeks and days, nursed by his beloved partner of 33 years, Bryn Ellis, who, along with his sister Anne, was at his bedside when he died.
During this time, he also began writing novels for young adults, beginning with his trilogy, The Gate Of Eden (later adapted by him for television with Maurice Denham starring), The Land Beyond and Return To The Gate (1974-75). These books, along with The Bloxworth Blue (1984), The Summer Of The Haunting (1993) and The Secret Line (1995), were published in the US and translated into many languages, including Japanese, German, Spanish and Hebrew.
Later in life he came out as gay, and it was from his partner, Bryn Ellis, that he gained some of his inspiration for The Magician's House.
In 1975, a Times Literary Supplement reviewer wrote of William Corlett's book, The Gate Of Eden: "It is difficult to do justice in a small space to the liveliness and moments of farce as well as the pathos of this immaculate and sympathetic novel."
Bill never ceased writing for young people, but he found time for two more adult novels. Two Gentlemen Sharing (1997), while enjoying considerable success in Britain, was stupendously popular in France. Kitty (2004), about a stray puppy in Spain, was Bill's last novel before he became very ill.
After his illness had robbed him of the use of his right hand, he suddenly and rapidly wrote, in the winter of 2004, a light-hearted, deft, theatre comedy, Elizabeth And Her Will, featuring a haunted Shakespeare with writer's block; an author's wife, Anne Hathaway, who has seen it all before; and a grumpy Queen Elizabeth, in search of some good PR.
His first adult novel, Now And Then, won the Dillon's First Fiction prize in 1995. He won an Emmy for his television adaptation of his Magician's House books (1990-92), and over three decades he was nominated many times for Emmy, Bafta and further Writers' Guild awards.
Bill bravely endured his last weeks and days, nursed by his beloved partner of 33 years, Bryn Ellis, who, along with his sister Anne, was at his bedside when he died.
Further Readings :
The Steps Up the Chimney (The Magician's House, Book 1) by William Corlett
Paperback: 239 pages
Publisher: Red Fox (May 12, 2005)
Amazon: The Steps Up the Chimney (The Magician's House, Book 1)
A totally engrossing and atmospheric series, full of secrets, magic and time travel.
William, Mary and Alice encounter a magician from another time who gives them magical powers and sets them on important tasks.
The three children arrive at Golden House on their holidays, and they soon realize that there is something very mysterious about the ancient house.
Two Gentlemen Sharing by William Corlett
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st Alyson Books ed edition (October 15, 1999)
Amazon: Two Gentlemen Sharing
If Angela Thirkell's quaint English countryside were invaded by a camp Tom Sharpe, the result would be William Corlett's (Now and Then) second novel. The entire stodgy, gossipy village of Bellingford is curious about the new owners of grand Hall House, "two gentlemen sharing," and what this euphemism implies. London playwright Richard Charteris (called, aptly, "Rich"), doubly blessed with an inheritance and a hit play, Manhattan Boh me, has acquired the stately house as a home for himself and his new young lover, actor-model-nothing-in-particular "Bless" Maynard-- without giving much thought as to what his neighbors might think. When Rich leaves to close a Broadway deal, however, Bless's attempts to fit into village life throw the local reactionaries, eccentrics and busybodies into a collective tizzy. With its gay twist--Bless and Rich aren't the only characters with alternative lifestyles--this casually witty tale expands the boundaries of the typical Home Counties comic novel. Moving along at the brisk pace of a West End farce, the novel also co-opts the stock characters of that genre, featuring country types like Doris Day, a droll charwoman who is much savvier than her dim-witted employers; Bessie Sugar, a meddlesome shopkeeper; and Brigadier Jerrold, a conservative retired brigadier who cross-dresses and passes as his own sister, "Phyllis." Other villagers include Laurence Fielding, a crotchety closeted architect; Maggie Heston, a histrionic and uncensored actress; and a drop-dead gorgeous Italian and his hot-blooded lesbian sister. Assorted slapstick subplots converge on a skinhead-attended road show-turned-brawl and a dance recital, as this breezily light entertainment floats to a happy conclusion.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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