John Osborne

John James Osborne (12 December 1929 – 24 December 1994) was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, and entrepreneur, who is regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-war theatre. Born in London, he briefly worked as a journalist before starting out in theatre as a stage manager and actor. He lived in poverty for several years before his third produced play, ''Look Back in Anger'' (1956), brought him national fame.

Based on Osborne's volatile relationship with his first wife, Pamela Lane, it is considered the first work of kitchen sink realism, initiating a movement which made use of social realism and domestic settings to address disillusion with British society in the waning years of the Empire. The phrase “angry young man”, coined by George Fearon to describe Osborne when promoting the play, came to embody the predominantly working class and left-wing writers within this movement. Osborne was considered its leading figure due to his often controversial left-wing politics, though critics nevertheless noted a conservative strain even in his early writing.

''The Entertainer'' (1957), ''Luther'' (1961), and ''Inadmissable Evidence'' (1964) were also well-received, ''Luther'' winning the 1964 Tony Award for Best Play, though reception to his later plays was less favourable. During this period Osborne began writing and acting for television and appearing in films, most notably as crime boss Cyril Kinnear in ''Get Carter'' (1971).

In 1958 Osborne joined ''Look Back in Anger'' director Tony Richardson and film producer Harry Saltzman to form Woodfall Film Productions, in order to produce Richardson's 1959 film adaptation of ''Anger'' and other works of kitchen sink realism, spearheading the British New Wave. This included Osborne-penned adaptations of ''the Entertainer'' (1960) (co-written by Nigel Kneale), and ''Inadmissible Evidence'' (1968), as well as the period comedy ''Tom Jones'' (1963), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay.

Osborne was married five times, but the first four were marred by affairs and his mistreatment of his partners. In 1978 he married Helen Dawson, and from 1986 they lived in rural Shropshire. He wrote two volumes of autobiography, ''A Better Class of Person'' (1981) and ''Almost a Gentleman'' (1991), and a collection of his non-fiction writing, ''Damn You, England'', was published in 1994. He died from complications of diabetes on 24 December of that year at the age of 65. Provided by Wikipedia
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Published 2013
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