In 1952 the young director Tony Richardson cast George Devine in a television adaptation of "Curtain Down", a short story by Anton Chekhov. There soon developed what Devine came to call their “great friendship”. Not long afterwards, together with Richardson's friend and partner the American sociologist George Goetschius, they formed a plan for a radical new theatre company, the objective of which, as Devine wrote later, “was to get writers, writers of serious pretensions, back into the theatre”, and thus to make the theatre “part of the intellectual life of the country”. The fulfilment of these goals led to the formation, in 1955, of what was called the English Stage Company. They acquired the rental of the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London, and Devine placed an advertisement in The Stage asking for new plays. The Royal Court opened in April 1956 with a production of Angus Wilson’s play The Mulberry Bush, followed by Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, in which Devine played Governor Danforth as well as directing. It was not until the fourth production, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, that the theatre really attracted public attention. Although the play was badly reviewed by traditional theatre critics such as Milton Shulman and Philip Hope-Wallace, glowing reviews from the two Sunday critics Kenneth Tynan and Harold Hobson ensured that the play eventually became a hit.
Goetschius's relationship with Tony Richardson ended in 1959, when Richardson moved out of Lower Mall to live with the actor Vanessa Redgrave, whom he would marry a few years later. Goetschius took on the tenancy of the top-floor flat, and was joined there a few months later by the playwright Donald Howarth.
They lived for most of their life together in George Devine's old Thameside house in London, theatre director Peter Gill sharing part of the property for many years. Donald Howarth is mentioned in the diary of Joe Orton when Orton visited Peter Gill.
In 2004 Goetschius became a cherished resident at Galsworthy House, Richmond, Surrey, and in February 2006 his almost 50-year relationship with Howarth was legalised in a civil partnership, a joyful occasion enlivened by champagne and a wedding cake provided by Galsworthy House.
Goetschius was buried in the garden at Tyn y Pant on November 5, 2006, Donald Howarth's birthday, where his warmth, generosity and concern was remembered by his closest friends with champagne, pumpkin pie, a bonfire and fireworks.
After training at Esme Church's Northern Theatre School in Bradford, Donald Howarth worked in various repertory theatres around England before writing his first play, Sugar in the Morning, which was selected by George Devine for performance at the Royal Court Theatre in 1959. Ian McKellen's first starring role in London's West End was in Howarth's third play, A Lily in Little India, and his fourth play, Three Months Gone starred Diana Dors.
Donald Howarth now splits his time between London and a countryside property in Wales, in the garden of which George Goetschius is buried.
Director Tony Richardson’s most famous films were Tom Jones (Academy Award for Best Picture) starring Albert Finney, John OSBORNE’s Look Back in Anger (starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom), and The Entertainer (with Laurence OLIVIER). A Taste of Honey, which was adapted from Shelagh Delaney’s play of the same name, depicted a loving and supportive homosexual character.
Richardson’s The Loved One, based on Evelyn WAUGH’s book, was perhaps the most controversial film of his career. A satire about a grotesquely kitschy funeral home in California, the film attacked the American capitalistic attitude toward everything—including death. Robert Morse, John GIELGUD, Rod Steiger, LIBERACE, Tab HUNTER, and Robert Moreley appeared in the film.
Richardson’s Hamlet starred Nicol Williamson in the title role, with a supporting cast that included Anthony Hopkins, Anjelica Huston, Gordon Jackson, and a very drugged-out Marianne FAITHFULL as Ophelia. The Border (with Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, and Warren Oates) and The Hotel New Hampshire (with Jodie FOSTER, Matthew Modine, and Rob Lowe) were not so successful. Even so, the blow-job scene catapulted Lowe to fame as a teen heartthrob and queer-lust idol.
George Goetschius is perhaps best remembered for his important contribution to the planning stages of the English Stage Company at London's Royal Court Theatre in the mid-1950s, and he was also an influential sociologist. Moving to London in 1954, Goetschius was employed as a research consultant by the London Council of Social Service. At the end of that year, he met the theatre director Tony Richardson and, in January 1955, moved into Richardson's flat in Lower Mall, Hammersmith, where he remained for most of his life. The house was owned by George and Sophie Devine. At the time, George Devine was working with Richardson on a scheme for a radical new theatre company, which would come into being the following year as the English Stage Company at the Royal Court in Sloane Square. In 1959 Goetschius's relationship with Tony Richardson had ended in 1959, when Richardson moved out of Lower Mall to live with the actor Vanessa Redgrave, whom he would marry a few years later. Goetschius took on the tenancy of the top-floor flat, and was joined there a few months later by the playwright Donald Howarth, a relationship that will last 47 years, until Goetschius's death in 2006.
Richardson was married to actress Vanessa Redgrave from 1962 until they divorced in 1967. The couple had two daughters, Natasha Richardson (1963–2009) and Joely Richardson (born 1965), both actresses. He left Redgrave for actress Jeanne Moreau, although the marriage he had anticipated never materialised. In 1972 he also had a relationship with Grizelda Grimond, the daughter of British politician Jo Grimond, who was working as secretary to Richardson's partner (actually ex-partner by that time) Oscar Lewenstein. Grizelda bore him a daughter, Katharine Grimond, on 8 January 1973.
Richardson was bisexual, but never acknowledged it publicly until after he contracted HIV.
Richardson died of AIDS-related illness in Los Angeles in 1991 with Vanessa at his side. His final film, Blue Sky, sat on the shelf for several years, but won Jessica Lange an Academy Award in 1995.
Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 10188-10202). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
Howarth: Four Plays by Donald Howarth
Series: Oberon Book
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Oberon Books (April 1, 2000)
Amazon: Howarth: Four Plays
Includes the first publication of Sugar in the Morning, performed in 1959 at the Royal Court Theatre.
The Lavender Screen: The Gay and Lesbian Films--Their Stars, Makers, Characters, and Critics by Boze Hadleigh
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Citadel; Rev Upd edition (January 1, 2001)
Amazon: The Lavender Screen: The Gay and Lesbian Films--Their Stars, Makers, Characters, and Critics
Tracing the origins and evolution of films with gay and lesbian characters and themes from the 1930s to their present proliferation, The Lavender Screen offers a startling review of more than 100 films, evaluating not only themes, but the director's attitudes and public and critical commentary as well.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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