John James Osborne, 1929 - 1994

portrait of John Osborne

Born: 12 December 1929, Fulham, London, England, UK
Died: 24 December 1994, Clun, Shropshire, England, UK

Osborne's father was a commercial artist and advertising copy writer who he adored, his mother a Cockney barmaid who he hated. His father died in 1941, leaving him an insurance payment sufficient for his education. He entered Belmont College but he was caught listening to a forbidden Frank Sinatra broadcast and was struck by the headmaster. He whacked the headmaster in return and was expelled. After a brief period in journalism he hired on with a traveling theatre company to tutor the junior actors, then got involved as stage manager and actor himself. He wrote a couple of minor plays but in 1956 he wrote the largely-autobiographical Look Back in Anger, a commentary on the generation that had met with some equality in the war but were stuck at the bottom as England's class system was restored, with overtones of the frustration of a Great Britain without an empire. Reviews were mixed, but those who liked it raved and it was a spectacular success. Laurence Olivier saw it as unpatriotic and bad theatre, but saw it again with Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. The Americans' reaction to the play led him to meat with Osborne and ask the a play be written for him, the result being The Entertainer. He was dubbed "an angry young man", and the start of a cohort that led a revolution on the British stage. He had a serious liver disease in 1987 which led to diabetes requiring daily injections, he died at home from complications of that disease.

Biography from Wikipedia and IMDB

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