Born: March 29, 1898, Birkenhead, United Kingdom
Died: January 27, 1997, London, United Kingdom
Lived: Arolo, Italy
Find A Grave Memorial# 176217775
Books: Sagittarius Rising, Farewell to wings, Gemini to Joburg, Turn Right for Corfu, A way to be
Movies: Pygmalion, Carmen, The Indiscretions of Eve
Awards: Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay
Battles and wars: World War I, World War II
National Park: Charles Ricketts died on 7 October 1931. He was cremated at Golders Green, and his ashes were to be scattered to the four winds in Richmond Park. His friends found out that the shoe box they were given contained a seemingly endless quantity of ashes, so they decided in the end that Cecil Lewis would take the remaining ashes to be scattered in Arolo near the Lago Maggiore. The Arolo land had been a present from Ricketts to Lewis. Lewis himself hollowed out a niche of the cliff, placed Ricketts's head in bronze by F.R. Wells facing the mountains, and a plaque was attached underneath it, “duly inscribed,” as Lewis wrote. The inscription is probably his, but the carving itself may have been a local job.
Address: 22010 Moltrasio CO, Italy (45.85111, 9.08944)
Who: Cecil Arthur Lewis MC (March 29, 1898 – January 27, 1997)
Cecil Lewis was a British fighter pilot who flew in WWI. He went on to co-found the British Broadcasting Company and enjoy a long career as a writer, notably of the aviation classic “Sagittarius Rising” (some scenes from which were represented in the film “Aces High”). While at the BBC in the 1920s he was taken under the wing of the artist Charles Ricketts, who awakened his creative heart, giving him a love of art and language. When Lewis discovered a villa in Italy Ricketts gave him pounds 300 to buy it. Between the wars Cecil Lewis created a beautiful retreat out of a rocky wilderness overlooking Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, which he said was always "waiting to restore me to sanity and peace". He edited the letters and journals of Charles Ricketts, “Self-Portrait” (1939), which were, like his 1928 translation from the French of Paul Raynal's “The Unknown Factor,” later adapted for television. He wrote and produced plays for stage, television and screen, including the adaptation of two Shaw plays for the cinema - his “Pygmalion” (1938) won him an Academy Award. In 1991 he wrote and presented on Radio 3 “Between Ourselves,” a dramatised portrait of Ricketts, whom he had so greatly admired in younger days, with Sir John Gielgud in the principal part. A few months later, by now 1993, Lewis published “Sagittarius Surviving,” a further flying autobiography. In the same year he wrote an introduction to Antoine de St Exupery's “Wind, Sand and Stars,” and two years later his autobiographical “All My Yesterdays” appeared. He was the last surviving British flying ace of WWI. George Bernard Shaw wrote of Lewis: "This prince of pilots has had a charmed life in every sense of the word. He is a thinker, a master of words and a bit of a poet."
Queer Places, Vol. 3.1: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
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